Tottenham Hotspur Top West Brom, as Kane is Head Above Rest

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry to score at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on November 8, 2020 (Photo by DAVE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry to score at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on November 8, 2020 (Photo by DAVE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
Tottenham, Harry Kane
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry to score at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on November 8, 2020 (Photo by DAVE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

In a week of memorable moments for Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspurs’ star delivered as his 150th Premier League goal lead Spurs past West Brom 0-1.

Tottenham Hotspur came into this match as a team with something to prove as the squad looked to move to the top of the Premier League table at least temporarily. After 85 minutes of action, it was looking like a game that would end as six of the last matches 10 between Tottenham and West Brom, as a draw. However, Harry Kane would still have something to say spurring Tottenham on to take all three points.

Forgettable Half for Spurs

The first half from Tottenham was probably their worst in the Premier League since the opening weekend against Everton. Tottenham were not on the back foot and were dominating possession, but it was meaningless. Despite 62% of possession in the first have where Spurs completed twice as many passes as West Brom (244 to 122), but the Baggies had out-shot Tottenham 6 to 1.

West Brom averages less than 9 shots per match, and already had six, this was not a good sign. As is the case against much of the lower half of the table in the Premier League, belief is a big thing, and a little confidence can go a long, long way at this level. Given Spurs had not won at the Hawthorns in over five years, the Baggies had to feel great at the end of the first half.

Sure, Tottenham had opportunities in the first half, but was Baggies from the off, literally. Within the first two minutes of the match, Hugo Lloris had to come out and punch a ball in the box and then saved a shot on goal. By comparison it took Tottenham nearly an hour – 58 minutes – before Sergio Reguilón registered Spurs first shot on target.

Tottenham should have scored after just 10 minutes as Bale played Kane in long down the left wing. Kane crossed into Tanguy Ndombele who used a crafty touch to move the over to a wide-open Heung Min Son alone in the box. In what was a harbinger of things to come for Son on the day, his first touch, as well as second and third were all poor. Once the South Korean finally got his shot off, it was easily blocked by a recovered defense.

West Brom just missed a header at 18 minutes as Karlan Grant seemed to mistime his leap. Then at 25 minutes a crafty chip from Robinson went over Hugo Lloris but was cleared to safety by Eric Dier. For the most part, Spurs were just second best with almost everything in the first half, getting beaten regularly in duels on the ground and especially in the air.

As the team showing up late in most of the challenges, Spurs accumulated seven first half fouls, creating opportunities for set piece disaster. Had this been Europa League, we might have seen several half-time changes, but as a Premier League match with only 3 substitutions allowed, Mourinho stuck with the same team for the second half.

Kane Tips Tie for Tottenham

The second half was a far better performance from Tottenham Hotspur. While Spurs were far from great at any point in the second half, it was clear they were the better team and were on the front foot much of the half. Spurs conceded a bit of possession – dropping to 59% total for the match – but did so in exchange for a more open game which led to more chances. Reguilón finally got Spurs first shot on target at 58 minutes, and then Tottenham would go on to get 5 more on 17 attempts in the half.

The match really changed when Tanguy Ndombele went down after being stomped on the foot. Ndombele was one of the better Tottenham players on the day, but the gap between he and the holding midfielders was just too big. Lo Celso was more active than Ndombele both defensively and in dropping deep to collect the ball and help get the action started.

After seeing the deep midfielders create the forward thrust for the team midweek, that same drive from Moussa Sissoko and Pierre Hojbjerg just was not there as the two Tottenham machines looked very human on the day. Hojbjerg was so off he once simply gave the ball away on the dribble in the first half like he was passing it a mate on an overlap. But with no Harry Winks on the bench, the options in midfield were limited.

The complexion of the game further changed when Mourinho decided to go for it bringing on Carlos Vinicius for Moussa Sissoko as Spurs put two up top in attack. Vinicius is a big frame and a second massive forward target next to Harry Kane. The Brazilian had a nice shot from the top of the box which was saved with a strong right hand from Sam Johnstone.

As Tottenham continued to look for a way in, the ball was recycled over to Matt Doherty. The back who had not exactly had a great game to that point lofted a ball toward the penalty spot. This question from Doherty was the one Kane had been waiting for someone to ask and he gladly answered. Getting between two defenders Kane jumped and glanced a header redirecting the ball past Johnstone who was caught between coming out and staying on his line in no-mans-land.

The touch was all that was needed, Kane had scored his 150th career goal in the Premier League, tying him for 9th all-time with Michael Owen. It was also Kane’s 55th game winner for Spurs and all three points were had. While the position in first place may be tentative at best as of this writing, Spurs can enter the break no worse than 3rd and knowing they came through with the goods when the questions were asked. That kind of success breeds belief, which breeds confidence and sometimes confidence is all a team needs.