Comment and Analysis @nicholaspwright
Harry Kane showing Tottenham team-mate Vincent Janssen the way to goal
Last Updated: 21/11/16 3:45pm
Harry Kane rescued Tottenham with his late double in their thrilling 3-2 win over West Ham. His return from injury is proving vital for Mauricio Pochettino's side, but his form contrasts sharply with the struggles of fellow striker Vincent Janssen, writes Nick Wright.
Harry Kane loves a London derby. His record of 18 goals in 22 appearances is an unrivalled ratio in the Premier League era. It includes decisive strikes against Arsenal and Chelsea, but even by his standards Saturday's match-winning double against West Ham will take some beating.
Tottenham were moments away from an eighth consecutive game without a win. The defeat would have ended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season and left them four points off the Champions League places, but in the space of 160 seconds their talisman turned the game on its head. White Hart Lane went from fraught anxiety to wild delight.
Kane was in the right place at the right time when West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph pushed Heung-Min Son's low cross into the danger area in the 89th minute, and he showed nerves of steel to slam home the winning penalty after Son was clumsily fouled by Havard Nordtveit.
After his equaliser against Arsenal two weeks ago, Kane has now won his side four points in two games since returning from injury. Factor in his goal in the 1-0 win over Sunderland back in September, and it's seven points in his last three appearances. Spurs may have beaten Manchester City without him, but Kane remains key to their ambitions.
Pochettino knows that better than anyone. "He's back!" he said after the game. "He's one of the best strikers in the world. When you play without your main striker for 10 or 11 games it's tough for any team. He's a player who is very important for us."
'Kane one of world's best'
Harry Kane is one of the world's best strikers, says Mauricio Pochettino.
It was curious, then, that Pochettino chose not to start with Kane at the tip of his attack against West Ham. The 23-year-old took up a deeper role instead, with Janssen leading the line. It was only the second time they have played together following the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in September, and the results were far from convincing.
For Kane, it meant fewer opportunities to receive the ball in scoring positions. An early turn and shot from outside the box was his only effort on goal until his equaliser, and, ahead of him, Janssen offered precious little to justify his inclusion.
The Dutchman worked hard but had fewer touches (17) and played fewer passes (six) than any other player who started the game. It was his blocked shot which fell for Harry Winks to score Tottenham's first goal, but his most notable contribution was to needlessly concede the penalty for West Ham's second. He was immediately replaced by Dele Alli.
Pochettino hopes to forge a partnership between Kane and Janssen, but their lack of understanding is not encouraging. Remarkably, they didn't exchange a single pass in their 68 minutes on the pitch together. It was only after Janssen's substitution that Kane was able to move further forwards and exert his usual influence.
Kane's late heroics took the spotlight off Janssen, but this was another challenging afternoon which did little to allay those unwanted Roberto Soldado comparisons. All three of Janssen's goals have come from the penalty spot since his £19.6m arrival from AZ Alkmaar, and he has now played over 16 hours for Spurs without scoring from open play.
Perhaps the floodgates will open when he breaks his duck, but after Saturday's game it would be a surprise if he kept his place in the side. Kane's predatory instincts are wasted in the No 10 role and Janssen isn't offering enough of a threat in his place. Kane's immediate impact after moving to centre-forward was a reminder of where he is most effective.
Pochettino will be aware that Kane and Janssen need to play together to create an understanding, but right now the drawbacks of that approach outweigh the potential benefits. Spurs are a far more dangerous side with Kane in his natural position, and Son is also pushing for inclusion after his impact from the bench against the Hammers.
It's good news for Spurs, but it adds up to a considerable challenge for Janssen. The Dutchman will be desperate to show his true potential in the weeks and months ahead, but with Kane fit and firing again, he might have to bide his time for another chance to make his mark.