Harry Kane is probably England’s greatest forward of his generation. But it’s Tottenham who are starting to rely on their star attacker more than ever before. Nowhere was this better seen that when Kane fired Spurs to victory over West Bromwich Albion last weekend. Tottenham had previously been on a three-match losing run which was the worst-ever experienced by manager Jose Mourinho.
Tottenham’s dramatic dip in form was all the more startling due to the fact that the North London side had been at the top of the Premier League table just a couple of months ago. But when Kane had to be substituted against Liverpool after injuring both of his ankles, it became clear that Spurs were in real trouble.
Tottenham went on to lose the Liverpool match 3-1, and there was worse to come. The Kane-less Spurs team slumped to a 1-0 defeat by Brighton the following weekend, before suffering a dreadful 1-0 loss against Chelsea. The Chelsea defeat saw Tottenham put in a dismal performance in the first half that showed alarming levels of lethargy.
But thankfully Harry Kane declared himself fit enough to play for last weekend’s West Brom game. Kane’s impact immediately made itself felt when he quickly gained some excellent goalscoring chances, before striking his first goal early in the second half. This was followed up just a handful of minutes later when Kane’s clever deflection of the ball set up Lucas Moura to make the charging run to pass to a goal-scoring Son Heung-Min.
Ultimately, it has meant that people are simply noting whether Harry Kane is playing or not as to whether Tottenham will win. The 27-year is no stranger to injuries, with his ankles proving particularly prone to damage. Spurs are about to enter a seriously busy run of games in the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and that League Cup final against Manchester City.
Kane is the kind of player who will want to play even if he is just 50% fit. As a result, the congested playing schedule has meant that many people will want to go to betting.co.uk to bet on Spurs to suffer again if Kane gets injured. Such a tactic may be smart as Tottenham have visibly been the better team when he’s been on the pitch over the past few seasons.
The statistics are a testament to Kane’s importance. Spurs have won 56% of their games since he became a fixed part of the Tottenham team in 2014/15. This contrasts with only a 41% winning record when Kane is absent from the Spurs side.
The reliance on Kane has become even-more noticeable in the Mourinho era. When Kane is absent from the Spurs lineup, Mourinho’s team only wins 30% of their games. Plus it’s worth noting that Tottenham have only been averaging 1.1 goals per game when Kane is absent compared to 1.8 goals when he plays.
This increased reliance on Kane is ultimately down to Mourinho’s preference for counter-attacking football. With a demand for defensive rigidity, Tottenham’s attack is now all about the counter-attacking threat from Kane and Son. Interestingly Kane appears to have dropped into a deeper role that allows Son to use his pace to devastating effect.
But when Kane gets injured, this method of counter-attack fails to work. Son barely got a chance in the game against Chelsea, and he clearly missed working in tandem with Kane. Carlos Vinicius was brought in as a back-up for Kane on loan from Benfica. While the Brazilian forward managed to get a hat-trick against Marine FC in the FA Cup, he bungled a clear goal-scoring chance against Chelsea.
Plus with Steven Bergwijn suffering from an apparent lack of confidence and Gareth Bale still looking some way from being back to his best, it once again shows just how important Kane has become to the Spurs team.
This Premier League season has seen Kane scoring 13 goals so far. He also scored seven more in all competitions this season, which means that it’s the seventh season in a row that Kane has hit more than twenty goals.
The strike against West Brom saw the 27-year old moving joint second with Bobby Smith with 208 goals on Tottenham’s all-time top goalscoring lists. Ultimately, Kane will want to beat Jimmy Greaves 266 goals to become Spurs’ leading goalscorer. If Kane continues his goalscoring excellence at the current rate, he’ll be on course to achieve this feat by his 30th birthday.