Date: 30th October 2017 at 7:52am
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A One-Man Team?

There is a lot of comment doing the rounds in main-core and social media outlets about Spurs being a one-man team. That man, of course, being Harry Kane. Logically, Kane could only be a one-man team if the rest of the players failed to turn up on match-day. But the logic found within football is tempered by emotion. It’s just not reliable!

Spurs/Kane, Spurs/Greaves, Liverpool/Keegan, Liverpool/Rush, Arsenal/Henry, Madrid/Ronaldo, Barca/Messi, Chelsea/Drogba, United/Law, etc, etc, …. are/were they all ‘one-man teams?

Every team needs a striker to score goals and, if the striker is something special he, and the team, will get a lot of media attention because of it. Because goals are the most exciting aspect for spectators to see, the media, and many supporters, often focus solely on the striker and dismiss the contributions of his team-mates. A very good striker will score a great deal more goals with talented players around him than if he plays with mediocre team-mates. The strikers mentioned played for very talented teams.

But a goal is just the end product of a team effort. None of the above prolific goal machines could have scored as many goals as they did without good team-mates to support them. Every one of the above teams relied on their main striker to do his job …. and the rest of the team to help him do it. They were all ‘team’ efforts. Every club on the planet relies on their main striker to do his job with team support.

All top clubs dream of having a striker like the ones above. Most can’t afford them and will keep dreaming. The European ‘money’ clubs try to have more than one prolific striker because of the injury problem. But it would be extremely difficult to have an equally competent striker in the squad who is on a par with Messi, Kane, Ronaldo, etc. If you had two Jimmy Greaves, would one of them be happy on the bench? In which case, clubs have to devise another way of playing if their main scorer is unavailable for a period. And the success of that will depend on tactics.

My two questions for comment are …. are we really a one-man team as the media suggests? And, if so …. is it unusual?


17 Replies to “Spurs. A One-Man Team?”

  • You?ve answered your own questions there. Of course we?re not a one man team. We can win without our talisman striker. We proved it during a lengthy period last year. However we are not as strong without Harry leading the line. This is true though, of every side, that they are weaker without their best player. Nothing to worry about here – just the normal over-reaction in the media.

  • PL67 … My sentiments entirely. Last season we had two other players who each scored 20+ goals. No other PL club could match that. This season is still young despite Kane scoring the majority of goals … which would be expected in any case.

  • To answer definitively we would need some context such as how were the results of those examples when their main striker was missing. Apart from scoring goals Harry creates space and opportunities for others. When he was missing last season I think we drew several games with Son, Eriksen and Alli scoring a few goals. This season we will have to see but we definitely lack another player capable of having a credible goal threat that can open space for others. Unfortunately for us Utd, Chelsea and City all have 3 or 4 such players but we do not have 1.

  • Clearly Harry is one of the best strikers in the world, replacing him with someone on a similar level is just not possible. So if he’s not playing we need to adapt. The question is how well are we doing that ? We signed Llorente as someone who could lead the line in Kane’s absence but so far I’ve seen no sign of us playing to his strengths, putting in crosses for him to feed off. Yes you can play with Son as a false nine but that only works if the opposition leave him space to run into.

  • Providing crosses for an old fashioned centre -forward to nod in is so last century dear. We don’t play with orthodox wingers,so against a big team like Utd,we had to keep our wing-backs in defensive mode.Hence no lovely crosses available. Llorente will be effective with a mobile forward like Kane to the running for him,then he can flick headers into space like Gilzean or into the net ,also like Gilzean. Llorente is not mobile enough for any other function.

  • Greavesaboveall, In theory I agree with you. But it begs the question, why exactly did we buy Llorente? His other attributes haven’t done much for the team imo. Yes, just lumping those crosses in is old fashioned, but worked for Swansea as they had their team set up around him, especially with Siggy pulling the right strings.

    BTW, good article Geof. Of course we are NOT a one man team, as much as Harry works his butt off for the team. Just wished the likes of Dele and Eriksen take a leaf out of his book. COYS!

  • Can I also add Poch is quoted as saying that Llorente is PERFECT back up to Harry… perfect in the sense that he’d be happy being a bench player. Is that what we really need to progress? N’Koudou is also a bench player….if at all! FWIW, I’d rather see an academy graduate being a bench player.

  • If you looked over a season, I believe without Kane we are a top 7 side, with Kane we are a top 4 side. Lets put the Man Utd game into perspective, no Kane, Sanchez, Waynama or Rose while Demeble only coming back from injury and if Dele would have scored, Spurs would be 2nd in the League. But we didn’t so now we need to be better in our next three games (and hopefully beat Arsenal)

  • @Legend23 – … and on that matter it?s going to feel odd wanting an Arsenal & Chelsea win on Sunday! Let?s make sure of the win vs Palace to keep that pressure on. COYS

  • Greavesaboveall – You seem to be saying the only way Llorente can be effective at Spurs is in combination with Kane, we can’t adapt to play to his strengths. If that’s true its an indictment of our inflexibility and as Critical_Spur says – why did we buy him ?

  • Legend23 I agree with you that without Harry, whilst we are still a ‘good’ (top 7) team, we should be aiming for a more collective effort. Seems in Harry’s absence, we need a lot of stars aligned for us to maintain our standards. We have got away with it for two seasons now but lady luck will desert you ultimately. A couple of good bolt on acquisitions would’ve made all the difference…..but Poch seems more keen to keep adding to our defence and somewhat overlook the AM area.

  • The context of the question suggests that goalscoring is the only important consideration here. But defending is as important as attacking. And our defence has been the best in the EPL for the last two seasons. IMO this has been at least as important as Kane’s goals. Kane could score as many goals as he likes but if our defence was as porous as it used to be a couple of seasons ago, it would negate any of the benefits his goals bring. So to answer the question, of course we’re not a one-man team. What I think would happen without him is that we would struggle against the top sides but still be too strong for the teams outside the top 6.

  • We don’t need to lump it to Llorente when we have wing backs who can cross the ball superbly, Eriksen who is as good as anyone in the Premier League at picking out someone with a pass or cross. Play to his strengths. Also we have Verts, Toby, Sanchez, Dier, Dele, Kane, Dembele, Wanyama who are all over 6 foot tall so if need be I would not have any problem lumping it into the box when struggling to break a team down.

  • Gary Onedaysoon, completely agree. We scored 2 goals vs West Ham for example, which would normally be enough for a win, but it was our defence (plus complacency) that let us down. Fortunately, unlike Liverpool, our defence is usually a lot less generous. We struggled vs Man Utd at Old Trafford, but we always do, whether Kane is playing or not. Matter of fact, one of the reasons we lost to Man Utd at OT last season, by the exact same scoreline, was because Kane gave the ball away on the halfway line. But we struggled to create anything in that game as well. So I don’t think we are a one man team and even if we were, the last two games can’t be used as proof.

  • Llorente would be of much better use in the home games against those bus parkers imo. When teams sit deep against us, pace is of less importance and physical strength becomes more valuable.

  • Yes we can survive without Kane, but we seem to miss our star striker more than our rivals do. It seems that our top 6 teams have better contingency plans in place than we do. Even if I do believe that we’ll eventually find a way to play with Llorente effectively, his style is very different to Kane’s and we’ll only get to see the best of Llorente by tweaking our tactics significantly. The spotlight is on MP to make that happen, or it will seem like we made another recruitment error. The toothing period we are going through is normal, but I regret that it’s taken us 3 years to buy a valid alternative to Kane. Had we bought a proven PL striker 3 years ago, we’d be a lot farther along the curve. Take a Giroud at Arsenal. He wasn’t an immediate hit, and eventually Arsenal spent lots on Sanchez to improve their squad. But the sheer fact that Giroud has been at the club a few years, is settled and knows the system well, he’s a very credible alternative.

  • Gary – it really depends on the game. I agree that against WHU, we lost because we conceded 3 goals and the 2 we did score should have been enough. Against Man U, we defended well for most of the game but we only really created one chance. We lost because we failed to create any sort of pressure/danger. Successful teams need to do both things well. When Kane is fit, we know we can score against anyone, because he is such a presence. We defend well too, and we seem to have more depth at the back with 3 capable CB’s, and 4 capable full backs (Foyth cost us a goal against WHU, but Foyth is only going to feature very sporadically and we can field a strong back 4 most of the time). The emphasis on Kane will exist until we can prove that we can maintain an acceptable level of attacking threat without Kane. Which we can’t seem to do systematically.

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