Harry Kane is a key player for Tottenham Hotspur and the England national team, but he may not be worth his reported $300 million transfer fee. Man City’s loss could be Tottenham’s gain.
Tottenham didn’t need Harry Kane to beat Man City, but Man City clearly need Kane. They lack a player like him who can create and score goals. Read more in detail here: harry kane.
LONDON, United Kingdom — Manchester City may need to reconsider their assessment of Harry Kane. At first sight, it may seem to be a knee-jerk response to Pep Guardiola’s team’s 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, considering that Pep Guardiola’s side won the Premier League last season despite playing without a recognized striker for the most of the season. Yet, following an early reminder of how City can be defeated by Spurs’ contain-and-counter strategy, it already seems to be a more difficult trick to carry off this time.
– Who is Harry, exactly? Spurs defeated Man City in the season opener.
Tottenham have won their past four games against City at the magnificent Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, each time using a roughly identical strategy based on allowing City to control the ball in specific areas because they lack a clinical striker capable of flourishing in tight spaces.
Of course, Guardiola’s squad has overcome this time and time again with a blur of creativity and mobility, an often irresistible combination that the £100 million addition of Jack Grealish, who showed glimpses of talent on his debut here, will undoubtedly only add to in time. Yet, of the two teams on display on Sunday, City was the one that missed Kane the most.
That was thanks to match-winner Heung-Min Son’s outstanding speed and penetration, as well as an anonymous performance by Ferran Torres as a “false nine” in combination with Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura. In a 20-minute appearance, Gabriel Jesus did no better.
“Are you paying attention, Harry Kane?” Tottenham supporters cheered louder than they had earlier in the game when they shouted favorably about their captain, and the 28-year-old was in attendance but not judged fit to play after just returning to training on Friday after England’s journey to the Euro 2020 final. Spurs coach Nuno Espirito Santo claimed Kane’s absence was due only to a lack of match fitness, but it’s difficult to dismiss the possibility that the uncertainty around his future was also a role.
Tottenham are certain that Kane will not be moved, despite the fact that he thinks he has a gentleman’s agreement to leave the club this summer. City hinted that they would be willing to spend about £100 million for his rights, but despite near-constant talk in recent weeks, they have failed to make a formal offer anywhere near the £150 million required to entice chairman Daniel Levy into a real discussion. That will almost certainly alter in the coming days, as the first weekend of the season laid out a plan for the remainder of the season on how to defeat the champs.
Man City’s striker-less style offered little danger, demonstrating why they need to spend a lot to acquire Tottenham’s Harry Kane. Heung-Min Son’s goal early in the second half was enough. Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images/Tottenham Hotspur FC
Guardiola backtracked somewhat on the eve of this game after going public with his desire to sign Kane last week, indicating that he wasn’t about to double down after that, but it wasn’t difficult to decode his true feelings at the end of a weekend in which Manchester United scored five goals and Chelsea and Liverpool both scored three.
“We were in the last third several times, but we couldn’t be clinical enough, and in the end, one action, we lose the game,” he remarked after City had 66 percent possession and 18 shots, but just four of them were on target.
“We’re the same individuals we were last year. Sergio [Aguero] is no longer with us. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much use out of him last season, as he only appeared in seven games. Then Jack [Grealish] came in, but we’re the same team who won the Premier League. It is natural for us to create excellent products. They are always a difficult competitor for us. I get the same impression that we are capable of doing well here, but that we are unable to produce results since they penalize you throughout transitions.”
Although the similarities with Tottenham’s past wins against City were obvious, Nuno would be remiss if he did not recognize that Spurs had more to offer on the day. After a jittery start, they settled into Sunday’s game as their strategy of remaining tight in midfield started to pay off. Behind Moura, Son, and Bergwijn, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp, and Dele Alli formed a three, effectively cramming six players into a narrow central area the width of the penalty box, forcing City to move out wide sooner than they would have wanted.
City, on the other hand, had an overload as they moved the ball swiftly and effectively to the flanks, with Japhet Tanganga left to fight manfully against Grealish and Raheem Sterling as one overlapped the other.
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Spurs seemed to be clinging on under Mourinho’s watch as City controlled after taking one of the few opportunities available at the opposite end. Spurs might have been farther up on this occasion, as Bergwijn wasted a golden opportunity to double their advantage on the hour mark after another blazing breakaway, similar to the one that had given them the lead five minutes earlier.
The game’s lone goal was a delight to see. Moura swung the ball forward just beyond his own area, allowing Bergwijn to charge forward at full speed. To receive the ball, Son moved out to the right, cut in on his left foot, and curled a stunning 20-yard shot past Ederson. Apart from an 84th-minute attempt from substitute Kevin De Bruyne and a thwarted effort from Grealish, the bulk of the 58,262 supporters in attendance turned up the volume, and although City reacted well, Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had nothing to cope with.
Kane’s next appearance may still be for any of these clubs, but Nuno insisted that the striker is just preparing for Tottenham’s next match, a Europa Conference League qualifier against Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal. Although it isn’t the European tournament Kane is targeting, Nuno stated after the game that “Harry worked this morning, he is preparing himself, and when he is ready, he will join the group and assist the squad.”
After this, Guardiola may push the City leadership to put that idea to the test a bit more.
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