Alan Shearer offers one reason why Spurs ‘are serious title contenders’ despite Leicester loss

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Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer has said that he expects Tottenham Hotspur to be up there challenging for the Premier League title this season as long as Harry Kane stays fit and continues his good run of form.

The defeat against Leicester City on Sunday saw Spurs subsequently fall to sixth place in the Premier League, with Jose Mourinho’s men now finding themselves six points behind league leaders Liverpool.

However, Shearer believes that one cannot write the North Londoners off just yet, particularly given the form Kane is in.

He wrote in his BBC Sport column: “Tottenham have lost twice in the past seven days, and it’s no coincidence that Harry Kane had a quiet game on both occasions.

“I still think Spurs are serious title contenders despite those defeats by Liverpool and Leicester, but for them to start firing again after Christmas, they will need Kane back on top form.

“His attacking contribution with nine goals and 10 assists in 14 Premier League games for Tottenham this season has been amazing and is a big reason they are at the top end of the table – when he plays well, Spurs usually do too.

“His scoring numbers are brilliant and have been for many years. If he stays fit, I don’t see his goals or his assists ever drying up for very long, which is a big reason why I don’t see Tottenham going away in the title race.

“Liverpool are a phenomenal side but I think Spurs will still be in the hunt come the final 10-12 games of the season, and with Kane in their side then, of course, they have a chance.”

The former England striker noted that it is not just goals and assists that Kane provides Spurs but the striker’s defensive contribution is also invaluable to the side.

He noted that the 27-year-old’s role in winning defensive headers was one of the main reasons Tottenham have hardly been breached during corners this season.

He wrote: “We already knew Kane was a phenomenal goalscorer before this season, and it is nothing new for him to drop deep to link up play either, but what he does in his own penalty area is often overlooked.

“Liverpool’s last-gasp winner last week was the only corner that Spurs have conceded from in the Premier League this season, out of the 73 they have faced.

“That’s because Kane has been doing such a good job in there, standing in and around the six-yard box and right in the middle of the goal.

“Kane doesn’t pick an opposition player up, he is just there to win the ball if it comes into that area – and the number of times he does it is incredible.

“In December’s victory against Arsenal alone, he won four headers from Gunners corners, and often he charged out of the area to follow up play as his side tried to break too.

“I used to have to help defend corners and free-kicks and hated having to run 80 yards back to get in position, but it is not just from set-pieces that Kane does the dirty work, or even when his side are protecting a narrow lead.

“Against West Ham in October, Spurs were 3-0 up when, just before half-time, Kane spotted Vladimir Coufal’s run from right-back and sprinted back from the halfway line to make a brilliant last-ditch block in his own box to stop a certain goal.

“That kind of effort takes its toll on a forward, because it is such hard work to keep running up and down the pitch, but you would never know that with Kane because he just sees it as part of his game, when not every superstar striker would.”

Shearer also raved about the partnership the England captain has built with Son Heung-min, comparing the duo’s understanding to the one he had with Teddy Sheringham.

Shearer added: “This Tottenham side is set up to play to Kane’s strengths, which is what any striker would wish for, but his unique skill set means it has been working really well for the team, not just him personally.

“The obvious part of that is the goals he makes. Kane’s assist rate has rocketed this season, and his understanding with Son Heung-min is incredible.

“They are both world-class forwards, and are so in tune with each other’s game that they have a picture in their head of what the other is doing before the ball arrives, and it is just a matter of one of them picking the other out.

“The fact that Son is so clinical means that few of the chances he makes for him are wasted, and vice versa.

“Their partnership reminds me of the one I was lucky enough to have with Teddy Sheringham for England. He knew exactly what I was going to do, and I was the same was him.

“I had some excellent striker partners at club and also international level but Teddy was brilliant because he was so clever. He did not have great pace, but it didn’t matter because he thought a second or two ahead of everyone else and he knew exactly when to pick his pass.

“He was unbelievable at dropping deep and finding me and, as a striker, it makes such a difference when you know that pass is coming.

“If Teddy was deep and got on the ball, or was about to, I knew he would be trying to find me so I would make my run. When you watch Son with Kane, he does exactly the same.”

 

Spurs Web Opinion

Shearer is spot on when he talks about how much of an anomaly Kane is as few players who have his ability and superstar status would be willing to do as much dirty work as he does for the team. Kane really is a manager’s dream as he seems ready to do whatever role is asking of him.

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