The unpredictability of the Premier League is one of the best things about it. Especially when you consider that the only unbeaten team in the league isn’t in the top four. Tottenham Hotspur, who recently picked up an impressive 3-2 win over London rivals West Ham are the only side in the league not to have lost a single game, but sit at the fifth position, five points clear of sixth placed Manchester United. While Spurs have drawn the most amount of games this season, the win over the Hammers brought that run to an end, a week after they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates in what was an entertaining game.
The run of draws, that included a goalless draw at Vitality Stadium and a stalemate at the Hawthorns, was something that Harry Kane could only watch on his televison at home in North London. The Englishman, who had sustained an ankle injury during Spurs’ 1-0 win over Sunderland, did comeback to score thrice in two games, but his absence was something that Spurs couldn’t handle well enough. Apart from the occasional presence of Hueng Min-Son up front, it was Spurs’ new signing Vincent Janssen, who had to slot in for the impressive Kane. And Janssen’s failures to score as many goals as Kane would have, played a part in making sure that Spurs are fifth in the league, despite not having lost a single Premier League game. Although, the absence of Toby Alderweireld was bothering too, but Spurs had Eric Dier to slot in at centre-back for the Belgian.
The Dutchman, who joined the White Hart Lane based club for a £17 million fee this past summer, has found the back of the net only thrice in all competitions. And all three goals have come from the spot, suggestive of the troubles that the former AZ Alkmaar striker is enduring. As Mauricio Pochettino efforts to somehow get Janssen back on song continue to go in vain, he is being forced to fiddle around with his formation too. Against West Ham, Spurs were deployed in a two-striker formation, as both Kane and Janssen started up top. Pochettino has already tried the 4-1-4-1 and the 4-2-3-1 and resorted to playing a 3-5-2 at the Emirates, which did well in nullifying the Arsenal midfield.
Its quite clear that Janssen is finding his feet in the Premier League, as of now. The new league that he is now plying his trade in, has centre-halves who are strong and towering, unlike those in the Eredivisie. Janssen has failed to act as a presence up front, unlike Kane, who always acts someone who can spearhead the attack and a player others can target. Janssen, although has a balance that is good enough, but he never seems to get the better of the defenders. Although, his effort on goal helped Harry Winks grab his first Premier League goal, but the game he had was only decent.
The Dutchman is an energetic runner off the ball and always seems to give the opposition defenders problems, when they are on the ball. He has shown glimpses of being the kind of a player who knows how to press the opposition, which is good, but the completeness as a striker is thoroughly missing.
The physical nature of the Premier League has been a problem for Janssen, who has only won 29 percent of his tackles this season. In terms of aerial presence, Janssen has won only 30 percent of his aerial duels, clearly proving that he always runs the risk of getting dominated by defenders. Harry Kane, who obviously is completely accustomed to featuring week in and week out in the Premier League, has won 55 percent of his tackles this season, apart from winning 39 percent of headed duels. Janssen wins 0.3 headers per game, while Kane wins 2.1. This clearly proves that Janssen’s lack of goalscoring presence in the box denies Spurs to have someone to play balls into and rely on.
Janssen’s hold-up needs improvement, considering that he doesn’t have feet as quick as Kane or Son. The Dutchman’s frailties when he receives the ball with his back to goal is apparent, considering the above stats and the number of fouls he has committed- 2.2. He is either robbed off the ball or a bad touch lets him down.
Barring the ‘Welcome to the Premier League’ treatment Janssen is getting in almost every single game, the Dutchman has shown the zeal and drive to hang in there and not give the defenders a moment of peace, indicative of the fact that he is a grafter and a fighter. He may be struggling for rhythm, but he never seems to give in to his failures. And that was a vital part of his last season’s tally of 27 goals for AZ.
And as time passes by, the feeling that Janssen is the ‘Dutch Soldado’ would dissipate. He is still getting to grips with the new style and the league, which has made it tough for many foreign talents early on, before they began to shine. With a manager who seems to believe in him and with a fighting spirit, Janssen will soon play like the player we know.