After 464 minutes of frustration, can 70-goal Kane break Man Utd duck?

The Tottenham star is a Golden Boot winner and one of the finest forwards in world football, but the Red Devils have had his number down the years


If asked to compile a list of the Premier League’s finest strikers, it is safe to assume that it would not take long for the name of the Harry Kane to figure in your thoughts.

Arsenal fans may take a little longer than most to reach that point, but they will get there eventually...begrudgingly.

On the other side of the north London divide, you are unlikely to find a Tottenham Hotspur supporter that will acknowledge anyone other than Kane at the top of that particular chart.

Tottenham's full list of contracts

After all, we are talking about a frontman here who occupies a standing among the finest White Hart Lane has seen in the modern era – and there are some useful names on that list too.

You do not have to cast the mind back far to conjure up images of Gary Lineker, Jurgen Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane donning the famous lilywhite jersey.

Kane has every right to believe that he is the equal of those mentioned above, with it possible that in time he could position himself alongside the all-time greats of Martin Chivers, Bobby Smith and Jimmy Greaves.

That is, however, getting slightly ahead of ourselves.

Harry Kane Tottenham Man Utd

For now, the 23-year-old is one of the most prolific marksmen of his generation – a generation in which multiple 20-goal seasons are not to be sniffed at by anyone operating outside of the unworldly bubble occupied by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kane has now broken that particular barrier in three successive seasons, becoming the first man to top Spurs’ scoring chart three years on the bounce since the legendary Chivers in the 1970s.

He has become a model of consistency that few could have predicted when farmed out on loan to Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City in an effort to get all-important minutes under his belt.

Pochettino: Spurs still fighting

Since making the breakthrough at Tottenham, only Manchester City talisman Sergio Aguero has netted more Premier League goals than Kane – with the England man now having 70 to his name in just 109 appearances.

That tally is lifted to 91 in all competitions, with it only a matter of time before he joins an exclusive list of Spurs centurions.

Few have been able to find an answer to the many problems he poses when presented with a sniff of a chance or the merest glimpse of the target.

Opponent Mins played Goals Shots On target Off target Blocked Pass accuracy Touches Duels won Duels lost Recoveries Dribbles
Liverpool 443 2 12 4 2 6 63.73 200 36 46 20 14
Arsenal 433 6 28 15 10 3 74.49 196 24 44 18 15
Chelsea 539 3 14 7 4 3 77.62 263 33 68 20 22
Man City 359 2 12 6 6 0 72.22 159 14 35 11 9

Kane is not a fox in the box, he is much more than that, but he comes alive in and around the penalty area – as all great forwards do.

It is to his credit that he has found a way of inflicting pain on just about every Premier League team he has faced with Spurs, with 23 of his 25 opponents forced to pick the ball out of the back of their net at some stage.

Cardiff City are one of those to have kept him out, but they have only had to face him for 16 minutes so cannot really be heralded for securing a shutout.

Dier: Title almost impossible

There is, however, one rather glaring omission on the most distinguished of goalscoring CVs.

Despite having faced them on six previous occasions, taking in 464 minutes of competitive action, Kane is yet to break his duck against Manchester United.

For a man who can hardly be accused of going missing on the big occasion – just take a look at his record in London derbies – the fact that he has been unable to breach the Red Devils’ defensive unit is quite remarkable.

Harry Kane Tottenham Man Utd

Kane will, of course, be tired of hearing about such failings by now, with United’s trip to north London on Sunday bringing them back under the spotlight, but he will also be aware that he has a serious monkey to get off his back.

For a man with an overall strike rate for Spurs of better than a goal every other game and a Premier League average of one every 124 minutes, to have gone almost four times that against one foe without troubling the scorers is bemusing.

As is the fact that his numbers across the board dip when pitched into battle with United.

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He has only mustered seven shots in his six outings to date – a figure well down on every other opponent that he has faced on multiple occasions, including the rest of the so-called elite – with just three of those efforts on target.

Kane’s passing accuracy also plummets against the Red Devils to 67.13 per cent, with his work rate in other areas having to increase – as shown by his number of duels won, recoveries and dribbles – as he endeavours to find an alternative way through.

United must be saluted for having found a formula which works against one of the most potent frontmen around – with current boss Jose Mourinho among the best at containment jobs in the business – but you get the feeling that a barren run will be broken sooner rather than later and that a particular Premier League anomaly will be consigned to the history books.

Kane will be hoping that chapter closes this weekend.