WE have all made such a fuss over Erling Haaland that Harry Kane’s own explosive start has slipped under the radar.
Admittedly, the England captain’s early eight goals in his first nine league games are no patch to Haaland’s frankly absurd 15 in the same period.
But it’s Kane’s joint best start to a league campaign at this point, along with the 2017/18 season when he graduated at 30.
That still wasn’t enough to land that year’s Premier League golden boot, which was won by Liverpool’s Mo Salah on March 32.
If they continue at the same pace, it will be nowhere near enough to stop the superhuman Manchester City striker from taking the kicker’s gong.
But it doesn’t change the fact that Tottenham’s talisman looks fantastic.
And that’s welcome news for his club and country ahead of next month’s World Cup.
Kane scored the opener here with a clinical header midway through the first half.
It was performed by old mucker Son Heung-min and took the pair’s number of Premier League goal combinations to a whopping 43.
They broke the previously held record of 36 way back in February and in this mode they seem to be raising the bar to a much higher level when they’re done.
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Kane pointed to the sky after his goal in honor of Spurs fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, whose death devastated the north London club on Thursday.
The 61-year-old was known as “The Marine” for pushing his players to the limit with his drill-instructor approach.
But despite his physical demands, his charges always had nothing but love for him and his tragic death from acute leukemia shocked Spurs to the core.
Manager Antonio Conte first worked with Ventrone as a player at Juventus and then as a coach as an assistant manager at Siena before bringing him to Spurs last November when he took charge.
He looked at Ventrone like a brother and wiped away tears to a minute’s applause in memory of the Napolese before kick-off.
Spurs switched to a 3-5-2 for the game and brought in ex-Albion star Yves Bissouma as an additional midfielder.
Conte had tried it in the second half in the 6-2 win against Leicester before the international break and slightly surprised some by not using it earlier from the off.
It gave Spurs far more control against a side who hinted in last week’s 3-3 draw at Liverpool that they love possession under new boss Roberto De Zerbi as much as they did under predecessor Graham Potter.
Spurs have also had to make changes at right-back following Emerson Royal’s red card in the north London derby last week.
Conte had criticized Matt Doherty’s current level in the press conference ahead of Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
But it was the Irishman he addressed in Royal’s absence.
Doherty had two early half-chances, failed to control a split-defence Rodrigo Bentancur pass and then missed a difficult half-volley from Ryan Sessegnon’s cross.
The fact that he was in the positions for both chances showed how much more dangerous Doherty can be than Royal.
However, his execution also showed why Conte has been unimpressed so far in this tenure.
De Zerbi tipped Danny Welbeck into a recall in England last month, despite the veteran striker having failed to score at all this season.
Welbeck almost missed the goal with the first shot from a tight angle, but shot just wide of the post.
Kane, the man Welbeck would rival if he got involved in Gareth Southgate’s plans again, was then rightly booked for an intentional handball that the locals didn’t have.
But Spurs had a threat they lacked in Germany midweek and Robert Sanchez had to use his entire 6ft 6in frame to parry a Rodrigo Bentancur hit into the far corner.
Thanks to that old Kane-Son combination, the visitors took the lead after 22 minutes.
Son deflected a corner that Brighton could only clear up to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who returned the ball cleanly to the South Korean.
Tottenham’s No 7 then blasted into a cross which an onside Kane headed home before pointing to the sky.
Kane tried to retaliate on the hour by playing a ball into the oncoming Son, but the fleet-footed forward was thwarted by a stunning tackle from Lewis Dunk.
It was an excellent defense against the Brighton captain but his next move was less impressive.
Kane flipped him slightly and should have bagged the points but shot wide to the shock of almost everyone in the Amex.
Conte made a surprise return to three points in the last 20 minutes and brought on Richarlison, presumably to meet the hosts at the break.
Son had the ball in the net with a blitz shortly after, but was ruled offside.
Brighton pressed to the end but couldn’t get past Spurs’ streak of last ditch tackles, with post-Haaland man of the moment Kane among those putting their bodies on the line.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6398735/brighton-tottenham-report-harry-kane/ Brighton 0 Tottenham 1: Harry Kane scores vital goal to get Spurs back on track after devastating Arsenal defeat