Tottenham: What has happened to Dele Alli and Harry Kane?

Dele Alli has scored or assisted a goal in the Champions League and Premier League every 151 minutes this season.

Last season in those two competitions, the number was at 138. A minor difference, I hear you scream, but a difference nonetheless.

Harry Kane has scored just twice in his last four Premier League matches, netting a brace against Stoke.

Spurs are not having a disastrous campaign, neither are Alli and Kane, yet the three point gap to fourth-placed Liverpool is a point of concern.

Last season, Kane was injured for a period and Alli stepped up, scoring regularly.

As a thin Spurs squad has been stretched in the hectic December, fatigue has seen Kane and Alli hit poorly-timed dips. Kane’s, in part, could be down to a knock he picked up a few weeks ago, Alli’s likely due to a relentless schedule in the past 18 months.

Alli has not scored since Spurs’ historic victory over Real Madrid on November 1st. That’s hardly a woeful run for a midfielder, is it?

Well, for Alli, it is. His game has been based around goal-scoring since he broke through at Spurs.

His role has had to alter at times during that run, often filling in slightly deeper. His all-round game, though, has been short of the standards we have come to expect. Misplacing passes and too frequently quiet, in a relative barren spell for Kane, his trusty sidekick has been nowhere to be seen.

Of course, some of this comes down to greater Spurs dysfunctions.

The success of Tottenham has been built on Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. The absence of Alderweireld has left the defence unsettled, and far from the impenetrable unit of last season.

The midfield has been struck by injuries, meaning Christian Eriksen and Alli have had to adapt. And, of most relevance to Kane, Fernando Llorente is yet to have a telling impact, which has forced Mauricio Pochettino into leaning heavily on his golden boot winner.

To label it all under the blanket of fatigue is easy.

Systematic issues at Spurs have begun with their wing-back troubles, which has allowed teams to crowd them centrally. Alli has suffered from this, having less space to attack, while Eriksen carries such a creative burden.

Without Kyle Walker and Danny Rose exploding down the flanks, stopping Eriksen quickly leaves Spurs scratching their heads in the final third.

Chances for Kane are then of lower quality. The England international has been just short of his lethal self, but dips in form of that sort are expected, as Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku have shown.

Spurs are still in an okay position to finish in the top four. Their season is not the disaster we might have thought if we were told in August that they would be behind Burnley in December.

Alli and Kane will be back to their best, but their workload for consecutive seasons must be a worry for Gareth Southgate as much as their form is for Pochettino at the moment.


Written by Sam Cox

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamRCox_

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