This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Harry Kane has to start leading from the front for Tottenham Hotspur.
On the chalkboard
The England international endured a difficult performance as Spurs drew 1-1 with Sheffield United on Saturday.
The result leaves the club in the bottom half of the table, already 11 points behind both Chelsea and Leicester City.
Kane, of course, is perhaps Spurs’ best player. He is a world-class striker and his scoring rate is impeccable. He has netted 174 times in 268 outings. This season, in a campaign in which he has been noticeably off the pace, he has still scored 10 times in 15 games.
Yet, against the Blades, he went missing.
Kane did have two shots on goal but, per WhoScored, neither of them were on target.
He touched the ball 28 times, fewer than any other player to start the game. He attempted 17 passes but just 10 were accurate.
Kane did win six aerial duels but he did not win a tackle, nor he did not complete a dribble as he was dispossessed on three separate occasions.
By all accounts, that is a woeful performance, particularly from a player who is relied upon to provide the spark, the example which all of his team-mates follow.
Are Spurs going to qualify for the Champions League this season?
Yes, they’ll finish top four!
No, they’re too far behind!
A running theme
In each of the last four outings for Spurs, Kane has not completed more than 20 passes. Even still, he has never once had more than 75% passing accuracy in those games.
He has scored one goal in that time – against Liverpool, in the first minute – but against the Reds, Sheffield United, Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion, he has had a combined seven shots. Against Aston Villa on the opening day, he had eight.
Now, of course, Kane missed the clash with Everton due to a virus and perhaps that had sapped his energy, perhaps that was the reason for his slow, molasses-like performance.
But if it wasn’t medical – and the stats suggest that it wasn’t – one has to ask what on Earth has happened to him.
He has now gone two Premier League matches without making a tackle or an interception or a dribble.
By all accounts, he has been remarkably poor.
But there simply isn’t anyone else. Spurs let Fernando Llorente leave in the summer and they really have no other chance but to hope that Kane turns this around.
The numbers, though, paint a depressing picture for everyone associated with Tottenham.