Premier League

Support Acts Key For Spurs vs Swansea

 • by James Nalton
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Tottenham Hotspur face Swansea in the Saturday teatime kick-off for a game which, on paper, should see the north Londoners claim consecutive league wins for the first time this season.

Harry Kane has scored four goals in the club’s last two games, against Everton and Borussia Dortmund, and in the Champions League game against their Bundesliga opponents, he also managed to get the assist for Son Heung-min’s wondergoal.

The goals against Everton included his 100th for the club in all competitions and led to a lofty comparison from his manager.

“On the mental level yes, absolutely,” said Mauricio Pochettino when asked if Kane could be compared with Gabriel Batistuta.

“Maybe different characteristics but I think he is in that level, with Batistuta, I would put Harry Kane in with Batistuta, yes. Batistuta was a killer, and very strong mentality, very strong shot, great professional, I think yes, you can compare.

“But for me, OK, I put Batistuta there (higher) and Harry (just below), but Harry can be better. He is a killer, Harry Kane, look at the goals he has scored the last year. Batistuta scored goals like Harry scored today. When you are a killer as a striker I think you need some luck too like today!”

One of the key’s to Kane’s success is the support he gets from those around him. Not just from his manager, bigging him up to the media, but from the midfielders and fellow attackers who play alongside him on the pitch.

Including the assist for his goal against Dortmund, Christian Eriksen now has 17 assists to Kane. The Dane is vital to the way Spurs play, creating chances both in open play and from set pieces. In terms of his contributions to goals he probably one of the most underrated players in the league, and while Kane gets all the plaudits for sticking them in the net, Eriksen is the one scheming away behind him.

The striker’s Spurs and England team-mate Dele Alli has laid on 11 goals for him, and the two have struck up a partnership which involves both scoring and creating for each other.

Ben Davies currently leads the side in terms of key passes or chances created with over three per game, with Eriksen behind him with an average of 2.5, not quite up to his average of 3.1 from the last campaign.

Kane will also create for others and had seven assists last season, putting him joint second with Alli on that particular chart, but it’s the gifts he receives from others, which he tucks away expertly, which make Tottenham and Kane the force they have become under Pochettino.

If Swansea are to get anything from this game on Saturday, they will also need to find players in their ranks who can make the bullets for returning striker Wilfried Bony to fire. The south Wales club have managed to sign the once highly regarded Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich, but in a number of games for both Bayern in pre-season, and his debut at Swansea, he’s failed to live up to the hype.

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Now people aren’t expecting much of him, he may be able to surprise a few of his detractors by turning on the style. But Sanches aside, the best chance of providing an Eriksen type threat in the Swansea side could come from Tom Carroll. He leads the team in key passes this season with 1.3 per game, but they are missing Gylfi Sigurdsson in this respect, as the Icelander was far and away Swansea’s best creator last season with an average of 2.1 key passes per game.

Kyle Naughton and Martin Olsson will hope to chip in from wide positions, whether this be as the wing-backs or as standard full backs in a back four, while midfielder Leroy Fer will also be looking to add to the one assist he has already this season.

One of Paul Clement’s biggest tasks will be replacing the individual guile of Sigurdsson by spreading this creative burden across the team, and hoping one player can then step from within this as his side’s reliable creative outlet.

Saturday’s game will be a big test for them as they visit Wembley, as it will be for the home side who are looking to build on a positive result at Everton, and a memorable European night at their new, temporary home.

The players who put the ball in the back of the net are always important, and troughout their careers so far Kane and Bony have proved they can do this for their respective sides, but this game will be about which team can best support their star striker with intelligent passing, movement, and creativity from midfield and from the flanks.

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