The 2021/22 season Premier League season hasn’t gone as planned so far for Tottenham Hotspur – or their star striker Harry Kane.
On Monday morning, Spurs dispensed with the services of head coach Nuno Espirito Santo after a disastrous run that saw Tottenham win just two of their last seven Premier League games. For a side with Champions League ambitions, such form wasn’t going to be tolerated for long.
During his brief four-month reign in north London, Nuno encountered a variety of issues – not least of which was a defence that freely leaked goals against the division’s top sides. Another major issue, however, was the complete lack of form of England captain Kane.
The 28-year-old frontman managed just one Premier League goal in nine appearances under Nuno. By contrast, at the same point last season, Kane had found the net on seven occasions.
After winning the Premier League Golden Boot for the third time last term, Kane was heavily linked with a £150 million move to Manchester City over the summer.
In addition to considering his future, Kane also had to deal with the small matter of leading his country at Euro 2020, where England made it to their first major tournament final in 55 years.
Harry Kane’s disastrous start to the 2021/22 Premier League season under Nuno
Ultimately, of course, the Three Lions didn’t win Euro 2020 – and Kane didn’t join Man City. However, after deciding to stay put at Tottenham, Kane’s form dipped dramatically. We’re not just talking about pure goalscoring, either.
Celebrated as a hero when he announced that he would be remaining a Spurs player just a few months ago, Kane was roundly booed during Tottenham’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at the weekend – a game where he managed only four touches inside the opposition box. For a striker renowned for his predatory instincts, that is a damning number.
Only one Premier League goal all season for Harry Kane
Stats provided by Opta, via the Daily Mail, tell a similar story for Kane throughout the season. His sole goal came away at Newcastle last month, when he also grabbed his only assist of the campaign to date.
Overall, Kane has managed just 19 shots all season. To put this into perspective, Man City defender Joao Cancelo has 22 efforts to his credit.
Kane’s struggles are perhaps best summed up by the fact that he’s only entered the penalty area with the ball on 17 occasions – less than twice a game. His colleague Heung-Min Son dwarfs him in that respect, ranking up 74 penalty area entries. Even Spurs left-back Sergio Regulion has 32 to his name.
This is a big issue for Kane – as 101 of his 118 Premier League career goals have come from inside the 18-yard box.
One goal in 738 minutes of Premier League football – and a shot conversion rate of 5% – would have been scarcely believable for Kane at the start of the season. However, that is exactly where he stands at present.
Kane’s overall dip in form under Nuno
A lack of sharpness in Kane’s all-round work, though, is clear from his stats elsewhere on the pitch. Usually renowned for his heading ability, Kane has won just a third of aerial duels since the start of the season (15 of 45).
There’s also been a sharp fall from grace in terms of his creativity for others. In 2020/21, Kane led the way in the Premier League with 14 assists. This time around, he could barely have been less effective.
Carving out just seven chances all campaign, Kane sits well behind Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who has been involved in a total of 37 opportunities.
The style of football that Tottenham played under Nuno really couldn’t have suited the club’s biggest star any less as he was forced to wait and play on the counter far more than he would have liked to.
With that said, it would be unfair to blame Kane’s woes entirely on his former manager. Among the most pressing assignments for Antonio Conte – who became the new Spurs boss on Tuesday – will be to help Kane get back to the sort of form that almost saw him break the British transfer record over the summer.
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Conte to Tottenham Complete (The Football Terrace)