Amarachi Orie takes an in-depth look at the imperious performance that helped fire Tottenham to the top of the Premier League and left Raheem
Sterling in the shade.
Coming into the game against Manchester City, Tottenham boss
Jose Mourinho had expressed concerns that Raheem Sterling had been
withdrawn from the England squad just to be played against his team. Those fears were unfounded in the end as Harry Kane’s versatility proved to be the real danger in Spurs’ 2-0 victory over City.
Pep Guardiola was forced to start Sterling on the bench due to his lack of fitness but the revered playmaker failed to make an impact when he finally came on as a sub deep into the second half, by which time Kane had already made his mark on the game.
From aiding the defence to leading the press, Kane was involved in all areas of play. His versatility has been his greatest strength this season and this match was no exception.
In a game which City dominated possession, Kane kept the game in Spurs’ favour. The home side were on the back foot for most of the match yet when opportunity struck, were more clinical: two chances, two goals.
In the same minute that Giovani Lo Celso was substituted on for Tanguy Ndombele (65’), Kane raced down the field with the ball to assist the Argentine in doubling the lead, slotting coolly through Ederson’s legs.Embed from Getty Images
The England skipper now has a total of nine assists in nine games, the highest of any player in Europe’s top five leagues this season. This is testament not only to Kane’s hard work and ambition but also to his ability to be a team player.
The Kane we’ve seen this season puts his team before himself, driving the side forwards without necessarily being the goal-scorer.
Even as the game was nearing its close, Ruben Dias had to take Kane down in order to stop him in his stride – nothing could be left to chance.
City’s team felt unbalanced, with the feared Sterling and Phil Foden only coming on to the pitch with 18 minutes left, too late to make a difference.
With players like Kane performing at their best, Gareth Bale who has played only 115 Premier League minutes this season, is but an
afterthought to Mourinho.
Bale is back but, when Kane has the team covered, it is not clear whether he is actually needed.
Of course, Bale still needs to get fully fit and we are yet to see how unstoppable Tottenham could be if he played alongside Kane and Son in his top form. Kane is flourishing under Mourinho and Bale, still only 31, could do the same.
Guardiola’s City have had one of their worst starts to the a season, with only 12 points from eight games; whereas Tottenham have had one of their best, securing 20 points out of nine to reach the top of the table. This is because key players, like Kane, believe in Mourinho’s philosophy and deliver it.
A further test of Kane’s ability and form will come next week when Spurs take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are only two points below Spurs in the Premier League table and boast an array of new signings.
While the Kane and Son duo seems unmatched currently, it will be interesting to see how they fare against the likes of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, who are both in good form, and cope with the clicking defence of Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell, who are both standing solid.