Harry Kane's dire form epitomised Nuno's Tottenham failure

Harry Kane’s dire form epitomised Nuno’s Tottenham failure… he has the WORST minutes per goal ratio of any Premier League centre forward to score this season and even Joao Cancelo has had more shots!

  • Harry Kane was booed by Tottenham fans during their defeat by Man United  
  • His form under Nuno Espirito Santo was poor, with one league goal and assist
  • The Portuguese boss however was sacked on Monday after just four months 
  • Sportsmail analyses Kane’s poor return so far in the 2021-22 Premier League 

Nearly six months ago now, Tottenham fans were begging Harry Kane to stay during a solo lap of honour following a home defeat by Aston Villa.

The immediate future for the striker however appeared clear in his own mind: lead England to a first major tournament title in 55 years, and then seal a big-money move to one of the Premier League’s giants.

It didn’t appear to be quite going to plan in the early stages of the summer, with his form at the start of Euro 2020 sluggish, and talk of a £150million move to Manchester City was rife but saw little genuine development. 

Harry Kane’s poor form for Tottenham epitomised Nuno Espirito Santo’s failures at the club

The Portuguese boss was sacked on Monday after just four months in the managerial role

One of those aforementioned wishes nearly came to fruition when he led his country to a major tournament final. The failure for the other to even come close to being realised however has continued to have a negative impact. 

The 28-year-old was booed by his own supporters during Spurs’ 3-0 home reverse by Manchester United at the weekend, the very fans who had pleaded for him to turn down pastures new at the end of last season.

Nuno Espirito Santo – Tottenham’s latest managerial casualty after just four months in charge – defended him for the umpteenth but ultimately final time at the weekend, insisting it was the team that was at fault rather than certain individuals. 

But it was the collective display at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium too that highlighted, as Graeme Souness said, that Kane in particular – so often the shining light and rescue act for his side – looked a ‘shadow’ of himself.

And it is the Portuguese boss’ failure to get the best out of that particular individual – who had just four touches in United’s box as the Spurs centre forward – that has largely contributed to his own downfall. 

Moreover, a look at statistics provided by Opta demonstrate the alarming extent to which Kane has struggled in front of goal in particular this season so far this season.

He has recorded just one goal and a single assist in nine Premier League games in 2021-22, both of which came at Newcastle last month. By comparison, he had seven goals and nine assists after the same number of games in the previous campaign.

His goal-shy nature so far this term has impacted on his minutes per goal ratio too, averaging one in the league every 738 minutes.

To put that into context, it is the worst return in that category for any central striker in the Premier League to have scored at least once this season. 

Of all the attacking-minded and forward players in the Premier League, Brentford winger Sergi Canos and Manchester City star Jack Grealish are the only stars to have an inferior ratio to him.

However, that is not the England captain’s sole worrying statistic in front of goal this season. A shooting accuracy above 65 per cent may seem slightly under-par for a player of Kane’s quality, but nothing that should call for the vultures to be swirling.

However, the Spurs star has managed just 19 shots altogether in the top flight this season, only 10 of which have been on target, while another five have drifted off target.

Kane was booed by home fans in the defeat by Man United and has just one top-flight goal in 2021-22

The 28-year-old’s only Premier League strike came in the 3-2 victory at Newcastle last month

His modest return of 19 shots however puts him level with Leicester star Harvey Barnes and West Ham midfielder Pablo Fornals.

But among the players with more shots on goal this season include Hammers and Foxes midfielders Tomas Soucek (20) and Youri Tielemans (23), Man United midfield duo Bruno Fernandes (27) and Paul Pogba (20), Southampton forward Adam Armstrong (27), and even Man City full-back Joao Cancelo (22).

That must be caveated by the fact he has the same number of shots on target as Cristiano Ronaldo this season, and only nine players in the league have had more. None of the players mentioned directly above feature in that latter list.

However, few actually doubt Kane’s ability in front of goal. Rather, these statistics so far demonstrate Tottenham’s failure to get him in front of opposition goalkeepers frequently enough for him to cause severe damage. 

This is also demonstrated by the fact that Kane has managed just 17 penalty area entries so far this season, and a look at players in his own team and at the other top clubs demonstrate just how inferior that return is.

But Sportsmail has analysed the extent of Kane’s struggles in front of goal so far this term

Mohamed Salah – the Liverpool star Kane pipped to last season’s Golden Boot – has more than double with 39. 

Man United midfielder Fernandes, who made up the top three of the same award, dwarfs everyone bar Trent Alexander-Arnold with 90. Even in Kane’s own team, Son Heung-min has 74 penalty area entries, and left-back Sergio Regulion 32. 

Of Kane’s 118 Premier League goals to date, 101 have come from inside the area, demonstrating the importance for Kane to regularly make himself a nuisance inside the 18-yard box. 

But that is not to say the Three Lions captain has not passed up opportunities as and when they have come his way. 

He has netted just one of the four big chances to have come his way, with the North London derby miss with a clip past Aaron Ramsdale but also the post immediately coming to mind. 

Sergi Canos (L) and Jack Grealish (R) are the only forward players with a worse minutes to goal ratio in the Premier League than Kane this term

Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo has had more shots at goal than the Spurs star

He has also struggled to compete with defenders in the air, winning just a third of his 45 aerial duels so far this season. 

And then to round it all off on the shooting front, a shot conversion rate of just above five per cent makes for incredibly grim reading for a player who has been so heavily courted by major European clubs for the last few years. 

Kane’s creativity was also a major facet and significant weapon in Tottenham’s attacking play last season, with his 14 assists helping him with the playmaker award too.

But the drop off on the creativity front also appears to have significantly diminished beyond the number of assists.

The England skipper has created just seven chances, including his assist for Son at St James’ Park (which was one of the two big chances he has made), so far this term.

Manchester United duo Paul Pogba (L) and Bruno Fernandes (R) have also had more shots

That is a number which can be equalled by veteran Liverpool star James Milner, Everton’s Alex Iwobi, and Man City midfielder Rodri. 

Kevin De Bruyne – who finished joint-second in the 2020-21 playmaker award with 12 assists and has had an injury-hit start to this campaign – has created 12 chances this term.

The Belgian had to share second with Portugal star Fernandes, who leads the way in the whole league with 37 chances created this term, 11 more than his closest competitor Grealish, who has created 26 chances and finished fourth in last season’s playmaker award with 10 assists.

It must be added that De Bruyne, Fernandes and Grealish so far have been hit and miss in terms of assists this term, with the Belgian yet to get off the mark. But their intent is there for all to see. 

Tottenham fans’ ire towards Kane however may not be so forthcoming on this matter, with supporters very much aware Kane’s form is one of many personnel issues within the current squad.

Kane’s only assist in the top-flight this term was Son Heung-min’s tap-in at St James’ Park

Nevertheless, their main gripe with their star player is his tendency to drop deep and out wide, from where he has delivered crosses and balls into the box instead of being the man on the end of them.

His delivery from open play into the box has been poor too, with none of the five crosses he has delivered ending up successful. And such attempts have not gone down well with the home crowd.

As Sportsmail columnist Danny Murphy highlighted, the dissent towards Kane at the weekend began when he tried to put in a cross that got intercepted at a time when Spurs were being well beaten.

Then he lost the ball and made a foul trying to win it back and the volume went up. It perhaps is a sign of a player so desperately trying to get back into form in an underperforming side that he is taking on too much responsibility.

Liverpool veteran James Milner has created the same number of chances as Kane this season

If they were not aware beforehand, Tottenham fans will have learnt by now that besides Son, no player in their squad is capable of regularly stepping up to the plate when their star forward is having an off day or experiencing a poor run of form.

The only other option therefore for chairman Daniel Levy was to sack the manager, a trigger he duly pulled on Monday morning to fire the former Wolves boss.

Speculation will now be rife about who replaces the Portuguese, with Antonio Conte the main favourite. 

But the priority for Nuno’s successor will be to reinvigorate Kane and restore his numbers and his confidence to that of one of the leading forwards in this country, as his return in four months under the Portuguese is unbecoming for a player of his talent.

Tottenham’s new boss must therefore restore Kane’s confidence and numbers this season

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