Harry Kane had the most clear-cut scoring opportunity he’s seen in a league game in a long time 30-seconds into the second half Sunday. Kane seemingly got his effort under Illan Meslier but the French keeper got enough on it to redirect the ball off the post and out of danger.
That shot was one of four shots Kane attempted, which are just four pieces of evidence that Kane is going to start scoring again, and soon. The best evidence, which fans should be most excited about started with the effort from Kane himself.
We saw Kane’s best effort is not his best results
Against Leeds United, Kane displayed most of his all-around game that makes him one of the best strikers in the world. Even more importantly, Kane did so with maximum effort. There have been matches this season where Harry was just going through the motions, that was not the case against Leeds, where Kane ran hard all day.
Defensively, Kane took smart angles, worked to pressure the ball, and provided the kind of press that made Tottenham great under Mauricio Pochettino several years ago. That effort off the ball to be a defensive nuisance was quite noticeable and made it easier to see when others were not giving an equal effort.
Sure at the end of the game, Kane was a little overly ambitious and maybe a tad exhausted as he gave the ball away but it was well-earned exhaustion in a big Spurs win. Harry was not the only player to perform well but his contributions were important.
Kane provided excellent hold-up play
Part of what made Harry Kane so effective last season under Jose Mourinho, was Kane dropping deeper to receive the ball and then turning provider for other players. That was the case again Sunday as Kane set up what should have been a couple of good opportunities.
Just as important as those balls out to Emerson and Reguilon that spread the opposition and pushed the team forward was Kane’s basic hold-up play. Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper were all over Kane all day yet there was Harry holding possession and even turning and attacking with the dribble in the middle of the pitch.
Kane was more stout in protecting the ball overall. Seldom going down under pressure as he protected possession Harry made an excellent target all afternoon. This was even more exciting to see when it occurred in the box.
Tottenham fans should be excited to see Kane get the ball in the box again
Kane receiving the through ball from Moura in the box only to be thwarted by the post was one real positive. Another was more subtle but should be equally encouraging to fans and troubling for opponents.
It only happened once but Harry Kane did receive one pass with his back to goal with a defender on him in the penalty box. It has been a long, long time since I can recall seeing Kane receive a pass to his feet to play hold-up football near the goal.
This occurrence was no fluke either. This is exactly the kind of hold-up play we have seen previously under Conte with Romelu Lukaku. It is an approach that has Lukaku has used this season at Chelsea as well and is likely to occur more with Kane as the season progresses.
Using Kane like this is akin to having a dominant big man who can equally score and pass post-up down-low in basketball. The more Kane can get the ball with options around him near the top of the box, the better it will be for Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Kane.
No Kane did not score but the signs of life we saw from Kane were important. Whether it was Kane’s all-out effort, his excellent hold-up play, or even deferring – as he well should have – to Eric Dier on the game-winning free-kick, we saw the kind of unselfish play that has and will lead to a lot of goals for Tottenham Hotspur, with many more likely coming really soon.