Haaland's Man City start erases Kane wonders as Spurs await Son return

·4-min read

Erling Haaland's blistering start to life at Manchester City has caught the Premier League by storm and the Norwegian opened his account for the club in the Champions League with a brace against Sevilla on Tuesday.

Having hit the 12-goal mark across all competitions already, Haaland may well have the record books in his sights and, unlike many others, will have a break midway through the season during the World Cup in Qatar.

That is a frightening prospect for any defender and Tottenham are next for the former Borussia Dortmund man in a match that already throws up plenty of talking points.

Last year, City were aggressive in their push to land England captain Harry Kane but were unable to conclude a deal, with Pep Guardiola instead opting to largely play without a recognised centre forward during the title-winning campaign that followed.

Kane, after a slow start, was at his brilliant best yet again for Spurs, firing in 17 goals to help the club pip north London rivals Arsenal to Champions League football – though the talk around the striker continues to be his lack of trophies.

Even Antonio Conte himself has spoken on the matter, saying it's a "real pity" he remains without major honours, and Kane may be forgiven for wondering what might had been if a move to City had played out.

Haaland Kane
Haaland Kane

Kane's Premier League experience may well have led to a lightning-quick start to life at City, like Haaland, but the two players are considerably different – Haaland having few touches of the ball other than striking into the back of the net, while Kane is more involved in Spurs' approach play.

Haaland has touched the ball just 132 times in the Premier League this season which, considering his 10 goals, means he averages a goal nearly every 13 times he touches the ball. In reality, he can be much more deadly.

Hitting a hat-trick in the 6-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest last month, Haaland touched the ball just 16 times and had the same number of touches a few days prior against Crystal Palace, where he also scored a hat-trick.

In comparison, Kane has touched the ball 255 times in the Premier League this season, almost double the amount of Haaland, and has scored five goals in six games – a phenomenal return but one that barely stands out given Haaland's form.

Not just a natural scorer, Kane plays a big part in Spurs' build-up play. In the Premier League this term, the England skipper has 115 successful passes, 36 unsuccessful attempts and 76 per cent accuracy.

Kane stat
Kane stat

Haaland, meanwhile, has 62 successful passes, almost half the amount of Kane, with 15 unsuccessful attempts and 81 per cent accuracy.

In the final third, the differences become even more clearer; Haaland with three chances created and a single assist, while Kane has 13 chances created – though he's yet to secure an assist, with those around him underperforming.

Son Heung-Min, in particular, has had a disappointing campaign thus far. The South Korean has a total of 17 attempts in the Premier League this season without finding the back of net – with four more chances going begging in the recent win over Fulham.

Last season, Son had a conversion rate of 26.7 per cent, higher than any other player with more than 20 attempts on goal, and won the Golden Boot with a total of 23 goals – tied with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

While those stats may seem alarming, it's not quite time to call for change as Son's 17 attempts have an Expected Goals (xG) tally of just 1.7 and a total of 0.1 xG per attempt.

Son xG
Son xG

Last season, Son's xG was 15.8 and he outscored that by seven goals, while the xG per attempt stood at a higher value than the current campaign at 0.18.

Fortunately, Son's blip in form has not affected Spurs' return at the start of the Premier League season as Antonio Conte's side stand alongside City as the only two clubs in the division not tasting defeat in the opening six matches.

While Spurs have performed at the level the statistics would expect, scoring 10 goals with an xG of 10.3 and an xG per attempt of 0.11, City, aided by Haaland, have outperformed their expected returns.

Pep Guardiola's side have scored 19 goals from an xG of 13.9 and hold an xG per attempt of 0.14, with their attacking contingent in their prime while Spurs need some of their major players to get going.