• Drew Farmer


"Spurs must keep their two best offensive players fit"

Harry Kane & Heung-min Son

Tottenham Hotspur will put a tumultuous season to bed on Sunday at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace. It is safe to say that Spurs’ season did not go according to plan after losing the Champions League Final in 2019 and ending the Premier League campaign in fourth place. Jose Mourinho has struggled to get his tactics across to a squad more akin to playing attacking football under the previous manager Mauricio Pochettino. Stars such as Dele Alli have failed to live up to previous heights and Tottenham Hotspur suffered the forced sale of Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan in January. 

The club once again learned the hard truth of the importance of forwards Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. The two forwards have been responsible for much of the club’s scoring but injuries and suspensions have limited their times on the pitch. 

Kane has recorded 17 goals from 28 league games while adding two assists to the Tottenham cause. Although his goals have been valuable helping Spurs reach the top seven, injuries forced Kane out of nine games. Had the Premier League not gone on hiatus, Kane wouldn’t have returned from a ruptured thigh muscle to finish out the campaign. Six of his 17 goals have come since the league’s restart with the club winning three of the four matches, he scored in. 

Son has been even more important to Tottenham and it is arguable that the South Korean is a more important player for the club than Kane. Son has played 29 matches in the league, just one more than Kane, and tallied 11 goals and 11 assists. Like Kane, Son only returned from injury thanks to the league’s hiatus. The fractured arm he suffered in February was healed in time for the restart. Three assists and two goals have been recorded post-hiatus.

So, how important are Kane and Son?

The duo has 41 combined goals and assists (Son 22 goals/assists, Kane 19 goals/assists). Only 19 goals have been scored by Tottenham Hotspur that Kane and Son were not responsible for in the league. They have recorded over two-thirds of the team’s goals in the division showing a dearth of scoring and creation by others in the Spurs team. 

Dele Alli is third in goals for Tottenham Hotspur with eight. From there, the club’s goal scoring really falls off with Lucas Moura (four) and January signing Steven Bergwijn (three) being the next best. Serge Aurier and Alli have been the next best in terms of goal creation with the former claiming five assists and the latter four after 37 games. 

Under Mourinho’s leadership, it shouldn’t be expected that a lot of goals will be created or scored. Since taking over Tottenham Hotspur on November 20, he has been in charge of 34 league games posting a 16W-7D-11L record. The club tally just 1.6 goals per game under his management.

Yet, therein lies the problem that Pochettino also had. If Kane and Son cannot stay fit – or in Son’s case from being suspended – then how are Tottenham Hotspur to win games? 

With Kane out of nine matches due to injury this season, Spurs posted a 3W-3D-3L record. Spurs are a .500 club without him. With Son missing due to injuries and suspensions, Spurs were 2W-3D-3L. Spurs must keep their two best offensive players fit but it is far easier said than done. 

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