Harry Kane: Is he Britain’s finest since Gareth Bale?

With back to back hattricks in the final 2 games of the 2016-17 Premier League season, Harry Kane made the golden boot his own for the second season running. In arguably the toughest league on the planet, this is no easy feat and to do it having missed 915 minutes of action through injury speaks volumes about the quality of his game. He has scored against almost every single team he has come up against in the Premier League including big names like Chelsea, Manchester United,Manchester City, Arsenal. Unfortunately I have not been able to watch too many live games of Tottenham Hotspur this season. So I have relied on the goal compilations to find out patterns in his movements which have helped him become such a prolific goalscorer for three seasons running.

Fox in the box movement

Most of the goals Kane scores are from the area around the 6 yard box. It is no surprise that Pochettino has built this team around Harry Kane. With no dearth of creative talents in the Spurs side, Kane has been assigned the responsibility of scoring goals by being at the right positions at the right time. Judging by his stats, he has done an excellent job. 

From the wide areas and right halfspaces, Eriksen and the Spurs right back(Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker) are mainly tasked with the responsibility of delivering outswinging balls around the edge of the 6 yard box. Because of the outswinging nature of the cross, it is difficult for the opposition GK to come out and meet the cross. Moreover, this also enables the crosses to reach Kane’s preferred right foot. Thus, a common trend in Spurs final third attacking play is for Kane to attack the 6 yard space as soon as Eriksen or Trippier get the ball unmarked in the right wing or the right halfspace. 

Here Kieran Trippier finds himself unmarked in the right wing. Kane knows what is coming next. He rushes to meet the outswinging cross at the edge of the 6 yard box.

Kane’s desire to meet Trippier’s cross pays off as he somehow manages to connect with the cross and score.

Eriksen finds himself free in the right halfspace and picks out a sublime outswinging cross into the edge of the 6 yard box.

Kane knows where Eriksen will deliver his cross and goes on to meet it and score.

If the initial cross does not find Kane and someone else wins the header at the far post, he looks to head it into the path of Kane who already stations himself at the edge of the 6 yard box for a tap in. 

A Spurs player wins a header at the far post and heads it into the 6 yard box for Kane.

Kane scores .

A crucial component of Spurs’ gameplay is the advanced positioning of their fullbacks. Often a diagonal switch from the central midfielders sets one of the fullbacks(Walker and Rose or Trippier and Davies) free. The fullbacks often hit a low first-time square pass into the path of Kane who begins his run into the penalty spot as soon as the switch is made. His strength comes in handy in shrugging of the defenders and meeting the pass on such occasions for a simple tap in.

As soon as the switch to Kieran Trippier was made, Kane makes his run into the penalty box.

Trippier easily finds Kane with a square pass leading to a goal.

Effective long shotsApart from being a fox in the box, Kane also has another dimension to his game. He has the ability to pick up the ball in deeper zones in the left half space and score from long range. This aspect comes in handy when teams sit deep and opt to let him drop deep without marking him. Kane is very capable of making a yard of space in deeper zones by cutting inside and often unleashed powerful instep shots from those zones. He has scored some vital goals against deep blocks. 

Kane finds himself a yard of space in the left halfspace.

With no one closing him down effectively, he lets one rip with his instep from distance and finds the ball in the bottom corner of the goal.

Game intelligence 

Tottenham are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the Premier League. A lot of credit for this goes to manager Mauricio Pochettino who has coached his players brilliantly. Kane is one of the players who reflects the excellent work done by Pochettino. His understanding of the game phases is excellent and he knows when he has to drop deep and when to run in behind. Like most elite centre forwards to have played the game, Kane has the ability to make space for himself in close spaces. He does this by peeling off from the CB marking him. As a result of this movement, he finds himself in a side-on position which makes it much easier for him to get a shot in compared to when he is facing his own goal. 

Also, this movement often allows him to get on the end of through balls from Spurs’ creative midfielders like Alli,Eriksen and Son. 

Notice how Kane peels off from his marking CB in this offensive transition for Spurs. He makes this movement before the pass reaches Alli who subsequently finds him running free on goal with a through pass.

Kane’s movement before the through pass enabled him to go 1 versus 1 with the Goalkeeper and we all know what happens after that.

A complete forward

We have all seen how efficient Kane’s movements are. However, one cannot score by being in the right positions. The technical aspects of gameplay must be right for a player to score as many goals as Kane does. What makes Kane one of the finest is his ability to shoot with both feet as well as his head. Many a times this season, we have seen him place his shots in the bottom corner with his left foot. Such precision finishing with his weaker foot has done no harm to his goalscoring attributes. If he keeps improving, it is just a matter of time before one of the giants from Spain come calling for his signature. Till then, his presence is a gift for Spurs’ ambition to challenge for the title in subsequent seasons. 

Note: You can see all Harry Kane goals this season. Great job to whoever has made the compilation. Thanks to the compilation,I was able to come up with this article.


One thought on “Harry Kane: Is he Britain’s finest since Gareth Bale?

  1. Pingback: Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea: Tactical Analysis as Conte's side find unlikely hero in Marcos Alonso - What A Hit Son

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