1st Paragraph: Although Tottenham managed to qualify for the semi-final of the FA Cup on Sunday, a feeling of apprehension filled White Hart Lane only minutes into the game as Harry Kane was brought off with an injury. The England international has been in excellent form in 2017 and is seen as the most important player in this Spurs team, and for good reason too. The Tottenham hitman is a natural goalscorer and he has fired in plenty of important goals for the white half of North London. So much so that plenty of betting sites that accept paypal must be turning over plenty of cash for Kane to end up top scorer in the Premier League.
On Sunday, Mauricio Pochettino moved Son Heung-min into a more advanced position and the South Korean rewarded his manager’s faith with an excellent performance. The caveat to his display was that it came against a League One side. Millwall have been in great form during the weeks prior to the match at White Hart Lane, but they are still a side that Spurs would expect to score a lot of goals against at home. That said, it was encouraging to see the complete performance from Son. He managed to score a hat-trick, with the first two goals being excellent finishes, displaying his quality in front of goal. In addition to his goal-scoring, the attacker managed to complete six key passes, more than any other player on the pitch.
The South Korean international has failed to hold down a regular place in the Tottenham first team since joining the club, but he now looks ready for a sustained run of matches in the eleven. Kane’s injury is a blow for the team, but it provides a huge opportunity to Son and he is expected to be the player to come into the team. The 3-4-3 formation is better suited to his strengths than the 4-2-3-1 that Tottenham previously played was. He has the freedom to drop deeper and let the two attacking midfielders make runs beyond him. Despite being a different player to the team’s top scorer, the 24-year-old has the skill-set to do well in his absence.
In addition to Son’s recent improvement, the change of formation should also help the team cover the goals lost through Kane’s injury. They are creating a lot more chances and managing to get more players into the final third. Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have each improved a lot since the start of the season. Both have been contributing goals and they will need to step up in front of goal to ensure the team doesn’t suffer in attack.
It has been known that Tottenham need to strengthen their striking options at the club for the past few summers, but they have yet to find an able deputy to Kane. Vincent Janssen was signed last summer and it was a move that made a lot of sense at the time. He has a similar profile to Kane and was seen as a like-for-like replacement for the England international when required. However, it hasn’t gone to plan for the Dutchman in North London. He has struggled to make an impact and Pochettino clearly doesn’t fancy him. Against Millwall, he managed to score his first goal from open play since joining the club and it could provide him with momentum to kickstart his Spurs career. He will certainly get more opportunities, but doubts remain about his suitability to Tottenham.
The next few weeks are crucial for Tottenham as they attempt to consolidate their position in the top four of the Premier League. It remains to be seen whether Kane will return for the FA Cup semi final against Chelsea, but if he doesn’t, then it is important that Pochettino finds the right combination in attack before that match. Although Son’s performance against Millwall was encouraging, he needs to show that level in the Premier League. The injury to their top scorer is a huge blow, but it shouldn’t fill supporters with the same sense of dread as it did at the end of last year.