Tottenham – West Brom: What a difference a Kane makes.
Spurs star Harry Kane returned to the fold Sunday and helped his side snap a scoreless and winless run with the first goal in a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
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Tottenham moves up to seventh with 36 points, just above Chelsea on goal difference, while West Brom’s 12 points are 11 clear of the bottom three.
The loss should also continue to pile pressure on Sam Allardyce, whose Baggies have brought in new players but are shipping goals at an alarming rate under the infamously never-relegated boss.
Three things we learned from Tottenham – West Brom
1. Kane still really good: Kane’s 13th goal in 20 league outings was classic Harry, zipping into the box with perfect timing and coolly slotting past the keeper (a good one at that). He’s added 11 assists this season and it’s telling that Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son all looked much more dangerous with defenders worried about the center forward and captain. Kane wasn’t super sharp with his shooting but his knowledge of space and timing was on point; He managed five of Spurs’ 13 shot attempts and had two key passes in going 90 minutes, also joining Bobby Smith for the second-most goals in Tottenham history. Jose Mourinho has no doubt Kane will break Jimmy Greaves all-time record.
2. Johnstone can’t mask Baggies ineptitude: In another world, Sam Allardyce would be getting criticism from all over the landscape, but the “never-relegated” manager has a lot of friends. Allardyce’s West Brom is 1W-2D-7L through 10 games, scoring eight goals and conceding 28 goals. Prior to that, Slaven Bilic’s West Brom was 1W-4D-8L in 13 matches, scoring 10 and conceding 26. Spurs didn’t capitalize but the chances were there form the opening whistle. Mbaye Diagne has shown some threat going forward, but going forward isn’t the issue. Even accounting for personal distaste or love for Big Sam, it’s worth considering whether West Brom shouldn’t make another change with 15 games to play and at least 12 points difference to recover.
3. Ndombele hurt? Something to monitor moving forward, as the center midfielder has been pretty darn good and earned Jose Mourinho’s trust and played on through what looked a tricky muscle problem. Yes, there’s Moussa Sissoko in depth and Harry Winks in a pinch but it’s difficult to argue that either can match Ndomble when the young man’s form is fine.
Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
Part-destroyer and part-game controller, Hojbjerg is also apparently quite adept with the final pass when necessary. What an assist to Kane here.
Tottenham – West Brom recap
Kane spotted Heung-min Son with a long pass and the South Korean forced a 10th-minute save out of Sam Johnstone.
Erik Lamela soon floated a curling shot over the bar, and Kane then nearly clipped the bar off a terrific cross from Serge Aurier.
The English center forward continued to assert himself, side-footing a tight-angled shot wide of the far post in the 19th minute and then earning a corner within a minute. Another corner followed, as Spurs lived the first half in West Brom’s end.
That was until the 45th minute, as Mbaye Diagne’s header of a big cross was kept from completely crossing the line by Hugo Lloris.
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The second half started right back in West Brom’s end, Johnstone denying Son from close range on a rush up the left.
Kane deservedly delivered the opener when slipped through by a perfect Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg entry for 1-0 in the 54th.
It was 2-0 within minutes as Lucas Moura was rewarded for a fine performance when he drove half the pitch to slide Son into the right of the box for a shot that Johnstone could only slow on its way to the scoreboard.
Diagne had it 2-1 in the 60th, but the flag was up for offside.
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