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Spurs vs Southampton: Kane ascends to the top of Europe in 5-2 thrashing of Saints

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All hail Harry Kane, King of Europe

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Boxing Day was kind to Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur today as Spurs made sure they ended 2017 on a high note with a 5-2 victory over struggling Southampton.

Spurs started the match rather brightly, getting their first chance on a counter-attack due to a turnover via the press. Dele’s pass to Aurier had just too much weight on it, forcing the Ivorian International wider than he wanted to fire in the cross. To his credit, Harry Kane still got on the end of it, but the shot was wide and the chance ended.

Eric Dier gave Fraser Forster a run for his money in the eighth minute, ripping a shot from outside the penalty area. Forster was up to the challenge and made a diving punch to make the save.

In the 22nd minute, Harry Kane took his latest step into the history books. After a brilliant run by Danny Rose to earn a free kick just outside the penalty area, Christian Eriksen whipped in the ensuing free kick and found the head of Harry Kane just a couple yards from goal, burying it home and taking the record for most goals in a calendar year in the top flight. Shearer tipped his hat to Kane shortly after the goal.

A scary moment came just a minute after the goal as Hugo Lloris parried an attempted cross away from him to Danny Rose. The fullback opted to head it back to Hugo, but put too much on it and sent it over the French Captain’s head. Thankfully, the ball ended up banking off the post just enough for Hugo to gather it up and keep the score at 1-0. If you want pure entertainment, get a slo-mo view of Rose’s reaction during the entire play.

Spurs controlled most of the action in the first half. The press clicked when it needed to and Southampton didn’t have much of anything going. You felt like the second goal was coming. In the 39th minute, those feelings became reality as Kane took his place on top of European goalscorers. Another transition play broke the attack free with Dele leading the charge. A perfectly weighted through ball to Son followed by a low cross past a diving Forster allowed Kane to slot it home, his 55th goal of 2017 for club and country.

Just a few minutes later, Kane showed off his passing ability as he put Heung-Min Son on net with a ridiculous long ball. Sonny never got a chance to shoot, though, as he was taken down in the box. Inexplicably, a goal kick was given on what looked like a stonewall penalty.

There was one last bit of entertainment with the last touches of the half as Kane pushed forward in stoppage time, feeding Eriksen, who gave a little flick behind him to free the man of the hour. Kane’s attempt wasn’t bad, but too high to be dangerous. The whistle came immediately after, stopping the action at 2-0.

As good as Spurs looked in the first half, they came out of the dressing room the complete opposite to start the second half. Two bad giveaways by Jan Vertonghen led to chances for Southampton, including a curling effort off the crossbar by Romeu. Thankfully it was no harm, no foul as Spurs survived the bad starts.

After weathering the storm early on, Spurs effectively put the match away in the 49th minute. Dele gathered up a loose ball to the right of Forster, made a simple move to pants Romeu, and curled the ball inside the far post for a 3-0 lead.

Just two minutes later, off of another counter-attack, Dele fed a wonderful through ball on the break to Sonny, allowing the Korean International to fire a ball past Forster. Another lovely team play, another lovely goal. 4-0 Spurs.

Saints looked demoralized by this point but managed to show some spark that included Romeu trying to beat Hugo on a curling effort in the 55th minute, but there never seemed to be a true threat as Spurs were flying. Kane almost nabbed his hat trick a few minutes later off of a filthy Danny Rose cross, but the one-timed effort was just too wide, keeping the score at 4-0.

A lapse in the 64th minute erased the clean sheet as Southampton managed to force a turnover in Spurs half of the pitch. Sofiane Boufal took the ball wide to the left and blasted a shot on net. Hugo got caught leaning the wrong way and it cost him, making the score 4-1.

If that goal did anything, it pissed off the boys in lilywhite. Just two minutes later, a forced turnover at midfield started the break. Dele played an inch-perfect pass to Harry Kane, who calmly gathered it up and flipped it over Forster to earn his eighth hat trick of 2017 and his 56th goal across all competitions, making it 5-1 Spurs as well.

Saints weren’t done, even if they looked like their souls were crushed immediately after the fifth goal. Saints had some chances which they finally converted into a goal in the 81st minute. After a couple of good saves, Hugo mis-timed a punch on a clearance attempt, allowing Dusan Tadic to gather up the rebound and fire it into the net. Hugo got a hand on it, but the deflection still found the back of the net.

Spurs had a couple of breaks after Saints’ second goal but there was never a real chance for Spurs to grab that sixth goal. Southampton had a couple of shots in the dying moments, but ultimately the match ended on the 5-2 scoreline.

Thoughts on the Match:

  • For the first time since 2009, the name on top of European goal scorers is not Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s Harry Kane.
  • Spurs opted for the 4-2-3-1 today and it clicked. Dier was an absolute beast in midfield while Moose controlled the rest until he was subbed out in the second half.
  • Dele’s goal was a thing of beauty.
  • Harry and Sonny doing the shoeshine celebration is my everything.
  • This match was absolutely bonkers. Just when you thought Southampton had nothing left, they would break free and look as dangerous as anyone.
  • There were a few bad giveaways and derpy plays that led to Saints’ two goals. Sometimes it happens, and at least it happened on a day Spurs had their goal scoring boots on.
  • I figured Lamela would get a start today, but it appears Pochettino is still taking it slow with him. I’m still so happy he’s back.
  • Harry Kane, y’all. The complete forward.