Harry Kane, Tottenham stay red hot with rout at Huddersfield Town
HUDDERSFIELD, England -- Three points on Tottenham's 4-0 win at Huddersfield Town in the Premier League.
1. Spurs outclass Huddersfield
Tottenham might be having some problems settling into their temporary home at Wembley, but on the road they're doing just fine. Their latest away success was over by the 23rd minute, as another brilliant double from Harry Kane helped them to a 4-0 win over Huddersfield Town. When Kane was substituted in the closing stages, most of the home fans stood to applaud: sometimes recognition of brilliance trumps partisanship.
Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko scored the other two goals for Tottenham and, while they were thoroughly outclassed, this result should cause Huddersfield no panic. This was certainly a case of Tottenham being incredibly good, rather than David Wagner's side rolling over. As the old cliche has it, much better and richer sides than the Terriers will be eviscerated by Spurs this season.
Huddersfield started in their typical intense manner, giving the Spurs defence a few moments of disquiet. But then Kane, as he tends to do, killed off that good early work with one of the more straightforward goals in the ninth minute. Huddersfield keeper Jonas Lossl cleared, Kieran Tripper headed it back where it came from, Chris Lowe missed the interception and Kane was set clear. You know what happened next.
Seven minutes later it was two. A quick-fire move of seven one-touch passes set Christian Eriksen in on goal, he was tackled again by the luckless Lowe and the ball fell into the path of Davies. His neatly clipped finish was a fine end to a move that combined brilliantly slick play and a spot of fortune.
Huddersfield should have been awarded a penalty when Davinson Sanchez shoved Elias Kachunga in the back, but it probably wouldn't have made much of difference. Kane made it three in the 23rd minute, collecting a throw from the right with his back to goal, expertly spinning Christopher Schindler before bending a perfect left-footed shot into the corner of the net. It's probably worth pointing out that, a couple of individual errors aside, Huddersfield actually hadn't been that bad up to that point.
Their intensity of attacking and indeed scoring perhaps inevitably couldn't continue after the break, and Huddersfield gained a little more control in the second half. But it was clear that, by about the hour mark, both teams were relatively happy with what they had: Spurs with the win, Huddersfield with a scoreline that fell short of absolute humiliation.
In stoppage time Spurs made it four, Sissoko bundling home after a counter-attack with the help of a heavy deflection: so heavy, in fact, that ultimately the goal may be taken away from him. Not that anybody will care too much, of course.
2. Kane scoring at historic rate
At the final whistle, when admittedly their two London rivals had yet to start their games for the weekend, Harry Kane had scored more goals in 2017 than West Ham (36 v 35), and only three fewer away goals this calendar year than Arsenal (15 v 18). That's 13 in September now for Kane, 11 for Spurs and two for England in eight games.
We've reached the point where Kane's numbers are so absurd it's hardly worth framing them with words. At this stage, it feels like everyone is just killing time between now and the end of his career, when we can see how many records he has broken by then.
Tottenham's all-time goals record is 266, held of course by Jimmy Greaves. Kane is on 110 and will probably crack the top 10 (10th is currently Robbie Keane, on 122) at some point in December, and by the end of the season he'll probably be halfway to the all-time mark. Probably the only thing that will stop him from passing Greaves is, with apologies Spurs fans, if he leaves the club at some point.
But more than just the numbers it's wonderful watching Kane at the moment. There's a purity to his football that is impossible not to take satisfaction from, even as a neutral. He's so difficult to stop because he barely has any weaknesses to his game. Take his second goal: he collected the ball about 30 yards from goal, facing the wrong way and then shifted it onto his "weak" foot. But as he pulled that left peg back, there still wasn't much doubt that he'd score.
When he picked the ball up on Saturday you could almost hear the home fans gritting their teeth, bracing themselves for the inevitable goal. He even produced a brilliant, acrobatic finish to find the corner of the net when he'd been flagged offside in the first half: it was as if he wasn't going to let the piffling detail of "the rules" get in the way of him scoring.
We could be witnessing one of the great individual seasons in English football history.
3. Huddersfield hit with first Premier League reality check
It was probably a good job that the fixture computer rather kindly left it until the end of September for the first of the big boys to visit the John Smith's Stadium. Their start to life in the Premier League had been about as good as can be expected before this game, with only one defeat, two wins and four clean sheets from their first six games.
They have been able to build confidence with some excellent performances against a few of the teams they will regard as their direct competitors, and that solid start means that being taken to the cleaners by a side as good as Spurs should have little negative impact on their campaign as a whole. They'll be able to shrug and move on, knowing there wasn't a huge amount they could have done about it: had this come in their first game or two, that might not have been the case.
Still, this did serve as a stark reminder of Huddersfield's status: in terms of expectations, they have little business being in the Premier League, tipped for relegation last season rather than promotion, elevated thanks to their quite brilliant campaign under David Wagner that was only slightly short of miraculous. It's thus not a surprise that, when up against the best in the Premier League, they might take the odd thrashing.
Again, they actually played quite well against Spurs, a level of performance which was enough to get past Crystal Palace and Newcastle, but not Tottenham. Maybe in the long-run it will turn out to be a positive, a character-building experience, but for now Wagner and his side can brush this off as a result that will have little bearing on their ultimate aims.
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.