I understand entirely that this headline will do little to quell the frustrations of Tottenham supporters in regards to not winning anything this season. Whether it be the Premier League or FA Cup, though they truly only had a shot at the latter. Unfortunately, they were their own worst enemy in that one. So we’re starting with this headline before the “bottled it” crowd has a chance to speak. (We know better, of course. It’s the Internet; this type of crowd is everywhere). Think of it as an appreciation of a great player, even if I understand those frustrations.
Because to be honest, this headline, this thought—it shouldn’t quell those frustrations. Not entirely, anyway. Tottenham Hotspur were unbeaten at home in the league this season, winning 14 in a row and conceding just NINE goals at White Hart Lane. They’re currently on 83 points, and likely to finish with 86 when they visit Hull City this Sunday. No other side English side has conceded fewer goals than them (25); the next-closest is Manchester United (29). With 79 team goals, Spurs rest just one goal off of title-winning Chelsea’s pace; their 80 tops the league. And, barring a collapse reminiscent of their match against Newcastle in last season’s finale, Tottenham will also finish with the league’s best goal differential. Currently at plus-54, only Chelsea (plus-48) could be considered close.
How much longer could this list go on, you ask? Well, I think we’ve got just one more thing. Across all competitions, Harry Kane (32) Dele Alli (21) and Heung-Min Son (21) netted 20-plus goals. Son would get there after netting a brace against Leicester Thursday afternoon. Kane would get there after doubling Son’s total tally on the day. Yes, you read that correctly—and we’ll get there, don’t worry.
So yes, it’s got to be frustrating for supporters, and rightfully so. This Tottenham team has made great strides in the three seasons under Mauricio Pochettino. Hell, their improvement from last season to the current campaign is plenty impressive. But with this attack, with the fortress in defense that has come into place over the past two seasons, trophies need to come. To not win anything, and soon, would be massively disappointing. And we know that when the big boys in Spain come calling, it’s all but inevitable.
For now instead, though, Tottenham will just have to settle for having Harry Kane—the Premier League’s best striker (and quite obviously one of the world’s best) in a race that isn’t all that close. After thrashing Leicester City Thursday afternoon, Kane took his goal total to 26 and assist total to seven. With that, he leads the race for the Golden Boot—which would be his second consecutive, by the way—with a two-goal margin over Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. That margin stretches to three over Alexis Sánchez. As it turns out, Everton and Arsenal finish the season against each other on Sunday. Some fun facts about those goal numbers this season:
- Sánchez has played in 37 PL matches, racking up 3,155 minutes.
- Lukaku has played in 36 PL matches, racking up 3,177 minutes.
- Kane has played in 29 PL matches, racking up 2,457 minutes.
Sánchez and Lukaku have played 698 and 720 more PL minutes, respectively, than Kane has this season. Moreover, they both didn’t suffer from ankle ligament damage like Kane did… twice. In all, the Tottenham striker missed roughly two months of the season. And yet, here he is, currently experiencing his greatest-ever individual season to date:
- 2014-15: 34 matches (2,582 minutes); 21G/5A.
- 2015-16: 38 matches (3,370 minutes); 25G/1A.
- 2016-17: 29 matches (2,457 minutes); 26G/7A.
Better yet, he doesn’t turn 24 until the end of the July. Can you believe that? Despite the fact that he’s been Tottenham’s only competent striker since they sold Jermaine Defoe (in the winter of 2014), Kane still scores. Despite the fact that teams know exactly how Tottenham will attack them, Kane doesn’t go too long without finding the back of the net. And regardless of his opponent, Kane will score.
For all of you in the “He only scores against (redacted) sides” crowd—after finally notching his first PL goal against Manchester United last weekend, there’s only one PL team that Kane has faced but failed to score against: Cardiff City. Bets on when they’ll be back up?
So grab the remainder of those “one-season-wonder” takes and deposit them in the trash before you embarrass yourselves. Grab those “fraud” or “penalty merchant” takes and do precisely the same with those. Because before you start with that, here’s a question: If it’s so easy to do what Kane does, why doesn’t every starting striker in the Premier League net 20-plus goals per season? Hell if it’s that easy, why bother even playing these matches? Let’s just shut down the league.
And please, for the love of all that is good, if there are any remaining Tottenham Hotspur supporters out there that do not rate him, I get the feeling you’re not actually a fan of the club. On a certain level, it would indicate to me that you have no idea what Tottenham has in Harry Kane. (I have said precisely these words before). Perhaps it’s because Tottenham haven’t won anything, yet. Maybe that’ll change the perception across the board once and for all; I don’t know. But that’s not just on Tottenham’s talisman. After all, we’re talking about a team sport, remember?
But for now, sans trophy, Harry Kane is quite the consolation prize. A player whose lengthiest youth stint came with Tottenham’s academy. A player who has declared on more than several occasions his intent to stay with this club for a very long time. Someone who toiled away on loan on four separate occasions, scoring just nine goals in 35 Championship appearances and five goals in 18 League One appearances. (He has 75 goals and a further 15 assists in 115 PL matches with Tottenham, by the way).
But unless Spurs start winning trophies, that consolation prize won’t stick around forever—no matter what he says. He’s just likely to stick around the longest, and Tottenham need to take advantage of that while they can.
Statistics courtesy of transfermarkt