No assists and no goals – that’s not a result we would expect from Harry Kane after six Premier League games into the 2015/16 season. What has affected his accuracy in the opponents box and are some right to say that he’s a one season player? These are the questions we will try to answer.
If you’re a striker from the front pages, and you stop scoring regularly, you’re in trouble. If you’re supposed to be a hope for England’s front line for the coming years, then you’re in serious trouble. But still, this time the media have been quite reasonable about dealing with this topic, not attacking Kane too much as they would normally do.
But it doesn’t mean Kane is not under pressure. It will get bigger and bigger with every game without the ball put in the opponents net. What has changed with the team during the summer break that it’s best goal scorer from the previous season can’t beat any keeper in the Premier League so far?
Firstly, Pochettino has been looking for his best set up for the 15/16 campaign. He hasn’t made a final choice as far as the centre of the midfield is concerned, trying Erik Dier as a defensive midfielder, changing into a third centre – half when needed.
Further up the field there’s plenty of choice, not meaning that there’s plenty of quality(Spurs have only scored five in six games). Lamela, Chadli, Eriksen, Delle Ali, Son and Townsend – because of injuries or other matters like rotation all these players have appeared more or less often in the starting line-up which doesn’t improve the team work.
Last season the north London club was more settled in the Premier League as far as this is concerned, and that influenced the understanding between the players in the forward formations. When Pochettino finally makes proper decisions about his preferable starting forward formation(probably Son, Eriksen, Chadli – Kane), and gives them time to play with each other, more goals should come.
Some football experts have pointed out that the talented striker hasn’t got a goal on his account yet, because he has had to help in the build up play, coming back quite deeply to collect the ball.
It might be true, as the club from White Hart Lane has struggled, especially in the first three, four games, with build up play. But if we look at the numbers, the amount of average passes that Kane makes per game hasn’t increased compared to last season, staying at more less the same level(25,4 passes per game last season compared to an average of 25,2 passes per game this season).
The fact that the number of passes hasn’t gone up doesn’t necessarily mean the 22 year old plays in the same way. He is coming back to support his team mates with knocking the ball around the central area, and due to that he records less passes in the final third.
The stats also suggest, Kane is trying to do more as an individual(not always in the positive meaning). He makes more dribbles per game compared to last year, get’s dispossessed more often and records more(!) shots on goal in his games. What does this suggest? Bad choices or high risks mainly caused by the lack of partners to play the ball up front with.
What’s more, the young English striker had a long summer as well. After finishing the Premier League with Spurs, he started preparing for the U-21 Euro’s in the Czech Republic, where England with him playing in each game failed to qualify throw the group stages. Less time to rest and recover could affect his physical side or his mental side, bringing a negative impact on his performances.
It’s hard to believe that such a player will continue with a goal drought for a long time. He nearly broke it during the mid week North London derby clash with Arsenal, but lacked luck to score.
One might say that scoring 20 goals in a season can’t be anything to do with coincidence or single season boost of form. Apparently the history of the English top flight has shown us something totally different.
Remember Michu? The Spanish striker bought as a bargain from Rayo Vallecano to Swasea lead then by Michael Laudrup? He scored 18 in his first Premier League season, for example scoring two at the Emirates which gave the Swans a sensational win over Arsenal. Later he went on loan to Naples, and now ends up probably wanting to end his career because of injury problems which were haunting him after the dream season of 2012/13.
Another example is Roque Santa Cruz – once a Blackburn Rovers star. The Paraguayan worked at Ewood Park with Mark Hughes, scoring 19 goals season 2007/08. When Hughes departed to Manchester City, starting the boom era thanks to the millions coming from the sheiks, he took Santa Cruz with him.
Blackburn top scorer never got back to his top form, losing the tough competition for a place in the starting team with the likes of Adebayor, Tevez and Jo. He continued his career at Betis Sevilla and Malaga, and now is heading to end it in Cruz Azul, a Mexican side.
Other one season sensations you might remember were Kevin Doyle (13 goals in 06/07), Benjani (15 goals in 07/08) or DJ Campbell (13 goals in 10/11).
Compared to those listed above, Kane has got time, trust from the manager and fans, as well as much better partners in his team. Spurs are playing Manchester City this weekend, so the breakthrough might not come yet, but Pochettino hasn’t really got any other striker after realising Adebayor, so the English talent will have enough time to prove to everyone around, he’s not a single season phenomenon.