Date: 9th October 2018 at 11:01am
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The perception is, that Harry Kane has struggled so far this season.

Big clubs plan for injuries, fatigue, occasional drops in form and the pressures of multiple competitions – we can safely say that the Harry’s combination of being the only credible striker in our first team squad and playing for England has left the 25year old disadvantaged.

Looking beyond the cave man thinking of ‘yeah but who would want to sit on the bench for most of the season’ argument… it has to be added that despite Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente are less useful than railway sleepers.

It is Kane and our back line that have been left bearing the brunt of Tottenham being left with a second rate midfield.

Given that Kane’s primary job is scoring goals, let’s look at how he’s fairing in this pursuit.

Chances created is one area of interest, but you would then have to drill down and work out how many chances were created specifically for Kane – which would be painful.

The statistical tool to use is xG or ‘Expected Goals’.

Expected what?

How this xG business worked out?

Football data experts Opta have analysed over 300,000 shots to calculate the likelihood of an attempt being scored from a specific position on the pitch during a particular phase of play.

Graphic showing likelihood of goals from different positions

The factors taken into account when assessing the quality of a chance include:

  • Distance from goal
  • Angle of the shot
  • Did the chance fall at the player’s feet or was it a header?
  • Was it a one on one?
  • What was the assist like? (eg long ball, cross, through ball, pull-back)
  • In what passage of play did it happen? (eg open play, direct free-kick, corner kick)
  • Has the player just beaten an opponent?
  • Is it a rebound?

Here’s the current Premier League leaderboard 

The first thing that grabs me is that Mo Salad doesn’t feature in it!

What is truly remarkable however, is that Kane is currently outperforming all but Eden Hazard – who is on occasion – clearly magicking goals out of thin air.

The point being, if Spurs had bothered to reinforce, opposed to be the only club in Europe’s top 5 leagues not to buy anyone in the last transfer window, this ‘best start to a season’ piffle would have some actual substance to it.

Kane is up for the Ballon D’or and as WINNING is the metric, Gareth Bale’s Champions League credentials are pretty unassailable.

One award Kane doesn’t need – which will get talked up on a daily basis while we’re starved of real football – is a £200million contract with Real Madrid.

Anyone responding to this with a round of ‘He’s One Of Our Own’ …is whistling in the dark.

Players aren’t dummies when it comes to all this statistical stuff.

Harry will know he’s pushing water uphill at Tottenham and it is down to the club to provide him with the appropriate support.

Hazard doesn’t look like death warmed up after 90 minutes, Agüero doesn’t look like he needs a fortnight in Florida, just 8 games in.

Don’t kid yourself the January window might hold any solutions.

The boy’s miraculous but he’s not a machine.


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