Tottenham: To Live and Die by Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris


It took little more than thirteen minutes of Saturday’s Tottenham v. Leicester match to pass for us to peer into a microcosm of what has made this 2014 – 2015 campaign excruciating and, quite frankly, unexpectedly orgiastic.

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First, the exhilaration.  Harry Kane’s brace, the second goal of which glanced off a Leicester defender that, apparently, Kane had intended, was the precursor to a third score that amounted to the 21 year old striker’s first  hat trick in the Premier League.  We could reflect and suggest Kane’s season bears “shades of Gareth Bale,” but even that comparison falls short of the Chingford native’s truly remarkable play.

In essence, what more could be said about the lad’s brilliant play?  He has earned two consecutive Barclays Player of the Month awards, and is well on his way to a third honor.  He, along with teammates Danny Rose and Ryan Mason, were called up to represent the English national team this week, and, with Saturday’s tallies, Kane now has 29 goals across all competitions, perhaps none more magical than his braces against Chelsea and Arsenal, both amounting to dramatic victories at White Hart Lane that warranted Kane’s status as Spurs’ “legend.”

But alas, there remains a faint, yet all too familiar, taste of disappointment.  Sixty seconds into Saturday’s match, Kyle Walker collided with world class goaltender Hugo Lloris, forcing the Frenchman off the pitch by way of stretcher.

With six clean sheets in 2014/15, Lloris has performed considerably well, considering just how in flux Tottenham’s backline has been through injury (Walker, Federico Fazio, and Younes Kaboul), exodus (Michael Dawson and Kyle Naughton), inconsistent play (Jan Vertonghen), downright poor play (Walker again), tactics (Rose is more of an attacking threat than a defensive stalwart), and relative youth (Eric Dier),

Although Ben Dinnery of ESPN proclaims Lloris’s injured patella tendon is “nothing serious,” losing a dynamo like Hugo for an extended period of time all but dooms Spurs’ chances at a Champions League berth.

As we focus all too intently on the negative, we begin to see Tottenham’s place in context of this 2014/15 campaign a bit more clearly.  Spurs sit seventh on the EPL table, tied for 53 points with Southampton, largely due to a goal differential margin that is, at best, putrid, especially for a “top” club:  Saints stand at +21, while Tottenham is at +5.

Such differential was not helped by Lloris’s replacement Michel Vorm, who yielded three goals from lowly Leicester City, a club at the bottom of the league facing relegation.  Yes, the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool are within reach, but given the most recent performances at Anfield (allowing Mario Balotelli his game-winning glory) and Old Trafford (a 3-0 drubbing that reignited United under long ball-minded Louis van Gaal), chances of a top-four finish remain bleak.

Consider who remains on Spurs’ schedule:  Burnley, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Southampton, Manchester City, Stoke City, Hull City, and Everton.  Southampton has been shaky since February 1 (3-2-3 in their last eight matches, having gone scoreless in three of them), and aside from Manchester City, Spurs will not face a team in the top ten in five of the remaining eight matches, although only three of those eight matches are to be played at home.

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Without Lloris, who, according to The Telegraph, will only miss the match against Burnley on April 4 after a two-week EPL hiatus (and, gladly, his removal from the French national squad duties during international friendlies), Spurs are likely to fall short of the top four, and perhaps even a perennial Europa League bid.  Spurs’ reliance on Harry Kane as primary goal scorer, akin to Bale’s final Tottenham stretch under Andre Villas-Boas, bodes tragic for Tottenham, unless Christian Eriksen and Nacier Chadli can return to form on the attack.

But given what Spurs have done to squeeze every ounce of fortune from their world class striker and goalkeeper, Tottenham will soon fathom what it means to live and die by such players.

Alas, this may fall short of any “echo of glory.”