Fantasy Premier League managers and Tottenham Hotspur fans alike are eagerly waiting for Harry Kane‘s (£11.1m) return from his latest ankle injury.
Watching the striker go down clutching that part of his leg has filled most of us with dread for several years now and we are already seeing some of the impact his absence has had on Jose Mourinho’s men.
At the very least, this time around, the latest news coming out of the Spurs camp does seem more positive than the last two injuries Kane suffered.
“The news is pretty good news. On the day of the Liverpool game, [we had] no idea. Then the next day we were thinking about three weeks, something like that. I do not want to be super optimistic but Harry is optimistic. He has the experience of some injuries in ankles and in Harry’s mind it is a couple of weeks, so let’s see if he is right.”
However, even the most hopeful of Fantasy managers and Spurs fans don’t expect to see Kane back for at least another couple of FPL Gameweeks. The Spurs chatter suggests that the Manchester City game in Gameweek 24 might be the first time we see Kane pull on that trusty number 10 jersey again.
Either way, we cannot rely on him in the short-term but the question on many a Fantasy manager’s lips is what his absence means for his colleagues, especially the highly-popular and capable asset Son Heung-min (£9.7m).
Spurs without Kane in the past
Many of you will remember this sort of injury has happened before with Kane. On New Year’s Day at Southampton last season, he was substituted with ankle pain and did not return to Spurs’ first-team for 90 days.
It was only due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that he saw any further action at the end of 2019/20, making it back for Spurs’ first game of Project Restart against Manchester United.
Back in April 2019, Kane was out for 51 days with a ligament injury. In January 2019 he missed 40 days with an ankle injury. In March 2018 he missed 20 days with another ankle injury and in the 2016/17 season missed 73 days in total as a result of an ankle injury.
So we do have plenty of data to draw on when Spurs don’t have Kane although some of the circumstances have changed since his previous injury.
Spurs without Kane in 2019
|Middlesborough (a)||1-1 (D)||Moura||Aurier|
|PL||Liverpool (h)||0-1 (L)|
(3rd round R)
|Middlesborough (h)||2-1 (W)||Lo Celso
|PL||Watford (a)||0-0 (D)|
|PL||Norwich (h)||2-1 (W)||Dele
|Southampton (a)||1-1 (D)||Son||Lamela|
|PL||Manchester City (h)||2-0 (W)||Bergwijn
(4th round R)
|Southampton (h)||3-2 (W)||Stephens (OG)
|PL||Aston Villa (a)||3-2 (W)||Alderweireld
Son (x2) (pen)
|UEFA CL||Leipzig (h)||0-1 (L)|
|PL||Chelsea (a)||2-1 (L)||Rudiger (OG)||Lamela|
|PL||Wolves (a)||2-3 (L)||Bergwijn
|Norwich||1-1 (D)||Vertonghen||Lo Celso|
|PL||Burnley||1-1 (D)||Dele (pen)||Lamela|
All Spurs fans will tell you how important Kane is to the success of the Spurs’ team.
However, back in the 2019/20 season it was maybe less concerning than it is right now. While Kane’s absence was felt, there were enough big performances and goal involvements from the rest of the side that Spurs continued to do well without him.
When you look at the games Kane missed in all competitions between January and Project Restart, the rest of the Spurs squad chipped in with their fair share of goal involvements.
- Dele Alli (7.4m) provided two goals and three assists
- Lucas Moura (6.6m) two goals, one assist
- Eric Lamela (5.7m) one goal, three assists
- Giovani Lo Celso (6.9m) one goal, one assist
- Heung-Min Son (9.7m) six goals
- Steven Bergwijn (7.0m) two goals, one assist
- Tanguy Ndombele (5.9m) two assists
Even the defenders contributed with two goals and four assists between them.
However, since Kane left the field at half time against Liverpool in Gameweek 20, Spurs have failed to score. This, in part, should not be, and is not unexpected.
Over the course of the 2019/20 season the Kane was, not unexpectedly, Spurs’ top goal scorer however his team mates contributed too:
- Kane – 24 goals in all competitions
- Son – 18 goals in all competitions
- Dele – 9 goals in all competitions
- Moura – 7 goals in all competitions
- Bergwijn – 3 goals in all competitions
- Alderweireld – 2 goals in all competitions
However, over the course of the 2020/21 season so far the rest of the Spurs team have contributed far less to the number of goals the team have scored.
While Son and Kane are both on target to beat their goal totals from last season with 16 and 19 goals (in all competitions) respectively, they are providing 58% of the goals in all competitions and this increases to 70% of Premier League goals scored this season.
With Ndombele and Aurier the only other Spurs players to register more than one goal this season, Kane missing from the Spurs starting XI is likely to be a lot more costly this season than it was last. Furthermore, when you couple the loss of his assists as well, Spurs are decidedly short in attack without him.
Spurs without Kane in Gameweek 21
This is a massive worry for Son owners.
Son was the second-most transferred-out player ahead of Gameweek 22 with 276,748 managers saying goodbye to FPL’s third-highest point-scorer. At the time of writing, only Kane has been sold by more Fantasy managers.
With a tough match at home to Chelsea in Gameweek 21, followed by West Brom and then Manchester City, more Son sales look inevitable unless Mourinho can find the right balance for his Kane-free side.
During the second half of the Brighton game, things did improve for Spurs when Carlos Vinicius (6.9m) was introduced. The benefit of a target man in the Spurs side was noticeable with improvements.
When asked about the change from Gareth Bale (9.3m) for Vinicius after the match Mourinho said:
“I don’t like to individualise. We tried to start with a team who can try to give Son the same dynamic that he’s used to. There’s no replacement for Harry but we tried to give him that with Bale coming into his position to connect with Son, but we were not successful. But I’m not speaking about Bale, I’m speaking about us. In the second half, Vinicius is a different player. We tried to change the direction of the game. Vinicius as a target point brought us energy and he had a great shot with a great save from Sanchez. The reality is that the team improved.”
While Spurs without Kane does the exact opposite of making Fantasy managers hearts flutter, the last half an hour of Gameweek 21 suggested that Spurs might just have enough about them to survive this latest injury blow.
The Gameweek 22 match against Chelsea will be a different prospect to Brighton. With Spurs and Chelsea playing out a 0-0 draw in the reverse of this fixture earlier on in the season, coupled with Son only managing two gaols in 10 games vs Chelsea, I am not expecting Son to return big for his owners this week.
But with the prospect of Kane returning sooner than originally feared I will be holding him, especially ahead of the West Brom game in Gameweek 23.
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