Harry Kane started the season as Tottenham’s third-choice striker behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado. Although the 21-year-old had scored five goals in the Europa League, it wasn’t until early November that he started his first Premier League game. Since then he has started 10-straight games in the League and has become the club’s first-choice striker.
After the summer transfer window slammed shut, there was a good case to be made for the Gunners having the better strike force than their North-London rivals. After all, in Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud, they had two world-class center forwards, who understood their style of play.
But now, barely a few months, ask anybody if they would swap Harry Kane for either Welbeck or Giroud and the answer would be yes, in a heartbeat. So what has happened in the past couple of months that has made people backtrack their opinions so quickly?
Offensive output of Harry Kane, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud in the League this season
|Harry Kane||Danny Welbeck||Olivier Giroud|
One look at the table tells you that although he has started just 10 games in the Premier League, Kane has scored more goals and assisted as many as Welbeck has. Although Welbeck lead the way when it comes to key passes and creating chances for his team-mates, it is Kane who is more accurate when he is shooting on goal although he takes fewer attempts when compared to the other two.
To understand why the tables have turned so quickly, we need to analyse the situation from both sides. First let us take a look at Arsenal. When Welbeck signed, the side were in desperate need of a striker who can step into Giroud’s shoes. And although they were able to bring in Welbeck, they knew that he wasn’t a clinical finisher and isn’t as good as the Frenchman, when it comes to holding onto the ball and bringing others into play.
As a result, what has happened is exactly what many predicted. While Welbeck has enjoyed playing in a central position, his lack of killer instinct inside the box means that he doesn’t have as many goals as he should have. And although he provided them with pace on the counter attack and created chances for his teammates, this meant that the Gunners lost out on the physical aspect of their game.
When Giroud returned, the former Manchester United striker was forced on the left wing, the same position he was forced to play at United and the position he was hoping, he would never play, at Arsenal. That immediately reduced his effectiveness in front of goal and while the Frenchman’s red card ensured that Welbeck got the nod through the middle once again, he must know that it is only temporary and will have to revert back to the left flank once he returns.
If Welbeck was as effective as many thought he would be, then he would’ve currently been the number one English striker in the League. Instead, that award is a tussle between Charlie Austin and Harry Kane. Although the QPR frontman has scored more goals than Kane, that is only because he has played more games and with Kane starting every game for Spurs, it is only a matter of time, before he is overtaken by the Tottenham academy graduate.
While Welbeck and Giroud have struggled to do enough for Arsenal to justify starting every week. Kane made a case for his selection after banging in the goals in the Europa League. At the start of the season, it looked as though Mauricio Pochettino simply didn’t want to play the 21-year-old striker and was going to do everything possible to make sure he doesn’t play.
But by consistently scoring goals in Europe and the League Cup and also an netting important winner in the League after coming on from the bench, Kane ensured that the Argentinean had no alternative but to select him. And what a brilliant decision that has turned out to be.
Since starting against Stoke on 9th November, the Englishman has started all of the subsequent League games and scored six goals in the process. With Kane, it hasn’t just been about the goals, but also about his energy and his vision. The 21-year-old’s tireless work-ethic fits in perfectly with Pochettino’s style of play and the amount of times he has won the ball high up the pitch by pressurizing opponents would have certainly pleased the Spurs boss and reaffirmed his belief that he made the right choice in picking him.
Although a striker’s main role is to score goals, such is the demands of the modern game that they are having to create openings, press high up the pitch, have a strong work-ethic and also have the vision and the tactical intelligence to know when to play the right ball. And that is precisely why Harry Kane has turned into England’s best striker in the last two months.