Harry Kane has scored more goals than anyone else this season who isn’t an absurd Viking robot, and Spurs are level on points with Manchester City. It makes no sense and it makes us angry…
Arsenal are absolutely flying along having won nine of their first 10 games of a top-flight season for the first time in their history while Liverpool and Manchester City just gave everyone a 100-minute reminder of how stupidly good at football they both are.
But Tottenham are still the most interesting team in the league, because nothing about them really makes much sense.
Ten games into the season, they are level on points with a Manchester City team that most of us still assume is probably going to win the league quite comfortably. And yet absolutely nobody is talking about Spurs as possible title challengers. And correctly, because… well, they just aren’t, are they? Sure, this might be their best ever 10-game start to a Premier League season but you can’t tell me they’re actually good. Come on.
It is a remarkable start to the season – Spurs are also top of their Champions League group with two games to go – but you really wouldn’t guess that from listening to anyone talk about Spurs. Especially their own fans but especially us.
You really could be forgiven for thinking Spurs were heading for relegation under Allardyce rather than the Champions League under Conte to listen to some of the fan chatter. The disparity between results and perception is really striking, and there’s not even a hint of the usual ‘Well imagine what the results might look like if they actually do click’ about sides for whom results appear to be outstripping performance.
And we’re not having an ‘entitled fans don’t know they’re born’ whinge here because…we get it. Spurs are really weird. Their football is undeniably effective – the results are quite literally in – but they often aren’t a great deal of fun to watch.
It’s still not really clear what their best formation is, certainly in the absence of Dejan Kulusevski, and the unavoidable sense of transitory impermanence around the manager means there is not the usual sense of something building that you would normally get from a team achieving this kind of improvement so early in a manager’s reign.
Only Newcastle have conceded fewer goals, yet Spurs haven’t really looked all that great defensively. Only City and Arsenal have scored more goals, yet Spurs’ attack isn’t exactly striking fear across the division, either.
And only RoboHaaland has scored more goals than Harry Kane, who is quietly on course for his best Premier League season ever and yet barely registering with anyone. If you haven’t been paying close attention to Spurs, you could easily be surprised to learn Kane has nine goals in 10 games. Even if you have been paying attention it still seems far too many goals. Try and remember them. Can’t be done.
Obviously, none of this is true if you spend all your time online like we do, wading knee-deep through the excrement of Football Twitter. You know all about Kane if you do that. And what you know about Kane is that he is a cheat. The biggest cheat in the history of the game. An absolute disgrace of a man, protected from on high because he’s England captain. Like Alan Shearer before him.
His Machiavellian grasp of the dark arts mean that he’s now capable of forcing his England colleague Jordan Pickford to fumble a shot and headbutt Kane’s leg. Classic Kane chicanery.
Kane’s ability to boil piss has fascinated us for a long time. And what has become abundantly clear is that the most infuriating thing he can do is win and score a penalty, an inherently underhand way to score a goal and one that all other strikers in history have quite rightly considered beneath them.
But the real gold comes when, as he did on Saturday and in midweek against Eintracht Frankfurt, Kane wins a penalty that a) is just really obviously a penalty but also b) definitely involves at least an element of Kane being quite clever about it. That’s when people completely lose their minds. That’s the sweet spot for online insanity, because Kane’s reputation for simulation – one that its proponents are required to simultaneously believe is wildly obvious yet also unreported by the so-called MSM – has long since grown from ‘Some penalties Kane wins are dodgy’ to ‘Kane won a penalty ergo it was dodgy’.
Like all conspiracy theories, its two elements make it impossible to argue against.
If Kane wins an actual dodgy penalty, then that’s fine. Add it to the list, further proof of how despicable he is.
If Kane wins a penalty that isn’t dodgy, then that’s still fine. Simply claim it is dodgy anyway, and explain away the lack of coverage reflecting this fact as part of the previously established establishment cover-up. For full tinfoil points, add “If that were Salah…” to really drive home your point.
The best part of Saturday’s penalty was that Jordan Pickford – a keeper who obviously knows Kane better than most – knew instantly that he’d been played like a fiddle. He knows it’s a penalty, he knows he’s made the precise mistake Kane was counting on him making, and is furious with himself for falling into the trap.
And that penalty pretty much secured the win that now means Spurs are bafflingly level on points with Manchester City and therefore everyone really has no option but to grudgingly include them in the title debate. Not that you’ll read about that in the MSM.