Paul Merson has been proven wrong about Tottenham star Harry Kane ahead of Arsenal showdown


There is simply no stopping Harry Kane right now.

The Tottenham Hotspur striker continued his excellent run of recent form by netting his 25th and 26th goals of the season in Spurs’ 2-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb in the first-leg of their UEFA Europa League last-16 tussle on Thursday evening.

The England captain, who will be hoping to fire the Three Lions to their first major trophy since 1966 this summer, scored either side of half time to put Spurs halfway towards the last-eight of this season’s Europa League.

For his first goal of the night, Kane tapped home from close range after Erik Lamela’s shot at the end of an excellent run rebounded off the post, before he netted his second, once again from close range, during the second half.

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Whilst the evening belonged to the Spurs ace, it did end in disappointment as he was forced off with six minutes remaining after suffering a blow to his knee, sending waves of nervousness through their veins of every single Tottenham fan ahead of tomorrow’s north London derby with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

However, head coach Jose Mourinho, who watched his side defeat the Gunners 2-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season, soon quashed those fears, insisting that he was confident Kane would be fine to face Mikel Arteta’s side.

Mourinho, when asked if Kane would be available for the trip across north London, said: “I hope so and I believe so. You know, it’s a big match.

“I think only a big problem would stop him from being there, which I don’t think it is, but let’s see the reaction tomorrow [Friday] but hopefully he’ll be fine.”

For a game of such magnitude and importance, Spurs’ supporters will be hoping and praying that his name is on the teamsheet come 3:30pm tomorrow afternoon.

Whilst Mourinho does have Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min available to share the attacking load with Kane, the latter has become irreplaceable for the Portuguese chief. This season, he has been nothing short of phenomenal every time he has pulled on the famous white shirt. In total, he has scored 26 goals – 16 of which have come in the Premier League – and racked up 16 assists.

To have been directly involved in 42 goals in 37 appearances is staggering, simply staggering.

And it is those kind of statistics that will have left former Arsenal man Paul Merson stunned, as he tipped Kane to struggle under Mourinho.

Last June, following Spurs’ 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United, Sky Sports pundit Merson predicted that Kane would fail to score more than 25 goals because of Mourinho’s style of play.

He has been proved wrong on every level. Not only has Kane now surpassed the 25-goal barrier for the first time since the 2017/18 season, but he has also shown he can be creative architect within the team, regularly supplying the likes of Son and Bale with his excellent eye for a pass.

“When Jose took the job I worried for Harry Kane,” Merson told Soccer Saturday back in June last year. “He played under [Mauricio] Pochettino and Tottenham sort of had a go wherever they went. There were goals, there were crosses, there were shots.

“[But now] he’s going to be playing up front on his own and it is going to be hard work. In the end he’s trying to hit 60-yard passes just to be involved in the game. That’s not Harry Kane.

“He’s not fit. He’s definitely not fit. They played with virtually 10 men.

“I think he’ll have a serious think at the end of the season, I really do. I don’t see him getting 25-30 goals next season with the way Jose will want to play.

“And Jose won’t want to play like he did when he first got in there and it was 4-2 and 5-3, no way. He’ll like those games like Friday night, 1-1.”

Whilst it is often hard to predict anything in football, Kane has certainly hit back at Merson’s decision to question how he would adapt to life under Mourinho in some style.

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Kane’s two-goal haul against Zagreb means he now has eight Europa League goals to his name this season, including those in the qualifying rounds.

Should Spurs continue their progression in the Europa League and reach the final, Kane still has the potential to feature in another 17 matches before the season is out, including Spurs’ remaining Premier League fixtures, Carabao Cup final against Manchester City next month and the prospect of another six Europa League matches.

With that in mind, should the England star continue in his current vein of form, he could equal or smash his tally of 41 goals he recorded in the 2017/18 season.





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