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English Premier League

Analysing Harry Kane’s two-goal performance for Tottenham against Everton

Jake Jackman

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Kane

Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goals of the season as Tottenham overcame Everton in a dominant display. It was billed as a tight contest between two sides that would be competing in the top seven, but this match showed how far ahead Spurs are. Ronald Koeman is overseeing an exciting period at Goodison Park, but his team are not the finished article. Their failure to add a quality centre-forward to replace Romelu Lukaku could hurt them. The visitors’ number ten showed them the value of having a quality goal-scorer on the pitch.

The narrative that Kane can’t score in August will rumble on for another year at least, but he showed on Saturday that he is set for another excellent season. Although he has admitted that his first goal was somewhat fortunate, his lack of luck during the first three matches meant that he deserved it to go his way on Saturday. It was an over hit cross, but it gave him the breakthrough that he needed. After the opening goal, confidence returned to his game.

Goals have been like buses throughout Kane’s short career and he added to his tally with a smart finish in the second half. This was more typical of the England international and suggested that he could be set to find his stride during the coming weeks. The striker has now scored 101 goals for Spurs and that is a remarkable achievement given he is only 24. His potential is scary.

The overall performance was encouraging as he caused problems with his movement and regularly created space for the other attacking players in the team. Christian Eriksen is excellent at taking up positions that are opened up by Kane. The fluidity and understanding of the front three make Tottenham a constant threat. Everton couldn’t live with them on Saturday and other teams will have taken notice of the excellent attacking performance of the visitors.

Although Kane scored twice, it wasn’t all positive for the England international. His link-up play wasn’t as effective as it usually is. He completed only 62% of his passes and showed worrying signs when it came to his decision-making. It is difficult to deliver the perfect performance, but this is a part of his game that he needs to address.

Tottenham showed that they are going to be fighting at the top of the division for the third successive season. There are no signs of them slowing down under Mauricio Pochettino and the form of Kane is crucial to their success. It isn’t just his goals, but his attitude and ability to bring others into the game. There are few better strikers in the Premier League and there certainly aren’t any more reliable goal-scorers. This performance should kick-start the 24-year-old’s campaign.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk proving to be worth his price-tag, but must keep Cristiano Ronaldo quiet

Liverpool’s January recruit has been in fine form since his arrival at the club.

Mathew Coull

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Liverpool take on Real Madrid this weekend in the Champions League final in a highly anticipated game in Kiev. The fixture will see Jurgen Klopp’s side hope to capture an impressive title after an enthralling run to the final in which they have played some expansive attacking football.

But to beat Real Madrid they will also have to keep Los Merengues at bay. With one of the greatest to ever play the game in Cristiano Ronaldo among their attacking options, that is no easy feat.

For Liverpool, the key man could, therefore, be the one who has proven to be a massive improvement for the side since his January arrival.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Reds paid Southampton a whopping fee of £75 million, as reported by the BBC. It was a price-tag called into question by many pundits and fans alike. However, the Dutchman has been in fine form since his arrival and added a genuine aura to the Liverpool back-line.

His aerial presence, speed and intelligence have all been demonstrated on a number of occasions as Liverpool’s defensive fragilities have been transformed since his arrival.

The impact he has had on Dejan Lovren cannot be understated. The Croatian looks to be back to something near his best since pairing with Van Dijk. His cool style on the ball and brilliant reading of the game has allowed Lovren to relax into his role and the pair make a good partnership.

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Against Ronaldo, all of Van Dijk’s best attributes will be tested.

The Portuguese attacker is still lightning quick, a monster in the air and his footballing brain is often unrivalled.

If Liverpool are to keep him quiet, it will rest largely on the shoulders of their £75 million winter investment.

It is these challenges that forced Van Dijk into pushing for his Southampton departure and he must ensure he is up to it this Saturday.

If he can keep Ronaldo quiet and Liverpool win the Champions League, then that £75 million fee will no longer seem so astronomical.

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Tottenham Hotspur

After Champions League heartbreak, Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should make Tottenham switch

The Serbian could prove the perfect long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele.

Max Cohen

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Photo: Getty Images

Lazio’s dream of qualifying for next season’s Champions League was ended in the cruelest of circumstances on Sunday, after two late goals from Inter Milan pushed the capital club into fifth position.

For standout central midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the lack of top-level European football must have come as a blow, and the 23-year-old should move to Tottenham Hotspur to seek the high-quality competition he deserves.

The Serbian international could prove to be the ideal long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele in north London, as he shares the Belgian’s combination of physical strength and deft skills.

Milinkovic-Savic enjoyed a superb campaign for the Italian club, playing 47 times and chipping in with 14 goals and nine assists.

These are laudable attacking numbers for a midfielder who operates in the engine room of the pitch, and his attacking contributions led Lazio to within inches of their first Champions League berth in over a decade.

The Serbian international is also a key defensive presence on the pitch. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches, the midfielder is a strong header of the ball and has the strength to outmuscle opposition attackers with ease.

(Photo by Marco Bertorello/Getty Images)

According to the Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are targeting Milinkovic-Savic and the player is set to make a decision on his future over the weekend.

Although he has been linked with the Manchester club, Milinkovic-Savic would do well to move to north London and play under Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs are in vital need of central midfield reinforcements this summer, as the futures of Moussa Sissoko, Victor Wanyama, and Dembele are all unclear.

Dembele has been an excellent performer for Spurs under Pochettino, and should undoubtedly be offered a new deal this offseason.

However, the Belgian turns 31 this summer and Tottenham must seek a quality, long-term replacement for the midfielder.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would be a fantastic addition to the Spurs squad and an ideal successor to Dembele in the centre of the park; the prospect of Champions League football should lure him to White Hart Lane this season.

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Southampton

Mark Hughes appointment offers Southampton much needed stability

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Photo: Getty Images.

Southampton are closing in on making an appointment as their manager for 2018/19 and beyond with reports indicating that Mark Hughes will extend his initial short term stay with a three year contract.

Sky Sports say that talks are ongoing with an agreement nearing between the two parties as the Saints look to bounce back having narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League as one of the most disappointing performers over the past season.

It came after yet another managerial change last summer, with Claude Puel being dismissed and Mauricio Pellegrino appointed. The Argentinian lasted less than a year and was fired in March, too late from the point of view of many fans, with Hughes brought into to rescue the team.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Hughes may not be the most glamorous and exciting of appointments, lacking the unknown factor that the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman has in the past, but he does bring in Premier League experience and much needed stability.

Since taking over in March, he managed 1.10 points per match, compared to 1.09 for Pellegrino before him, but he did turn things around and save the team from the drop, with a new mentality getting the best out of some of the many players who had been underperforming.

Southampton have not had the same manager for more than two years since Nigel Adkins got the team promoted from the third tier back to the Premier League, and with a long-term contract Hughes could be that man.

After years of frequent change, cashing in on those who performed well and losing managers, for the first time in 2017/18 the gamble backfired and almost cost the club dearly. An investment in stability is the best logical next step.

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