Tottenham’s dearth of reliable back-up strikers has long been a criticism levelled at those responsible for transfers at the club, with the 2021-22 squad notably light on attacking reserves.
Spurs’ heavy reliance on Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min to lead the line has led to the pair forming a prolific, often telepathic, partnership but once again the two forwards have been made to play more minutes than almost all of their teammates this season due to a lack of alternatives.
Kane alone has made more appearances and spent more total time on the pitch than any other Tottenham player this campaign, playing 3,440 minutes spread over 41 games — that’s 450 more minutes of action than first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
While arguably overworked, the strike partnership between Kane and Son has once again proved prolific with the pair producing a combined 36 goals and 13 assists in all competitions under Antonio Conte (Kane has 22 goals and six assists; Son has 14 goals and seven assists).
Thankfully, in order to help ease the growing burden on the Spurs strikers, a dependable third source of goals has emerged in North London this season and is currently sitting third on the squad’s list of top goal scorers.
Indeed, no team has benefitted more from “Own Goal” in the Premier League this campaign than Tottenham, with six now scored by opponents in their favour following Kurt Zouma‘s errant effort in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over West Ham. Man United, Southampton, Everton, Brentford, Aston Villa have come before. And no other team has more than two this season.
In truly formidable form, “Own Goal” has now registered 10 times for Spurs in all competitions so far (with the other four coming vs. Brighton, Pacos De Ferreira, Rennes and Vitesse), making it the club’s third-highest goal scorer behind Kane and Son, and comfortably above the next highest entrants: Lucas Moura (six), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Steven Bergwijn (both 3).
To put that in continental context, no team across Europe’s top five leagues have had more own goals scored in their favour than Spurs (six) in 2021-22, with the next highest beneficiaries being Barcelona (5) in Spain’s LaLiga.
Over in Germany, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen have all had four own goals go their way in the Bundesliga so far this term, while Juventus and Milan (4) jointly lead the way in Italy‘s Serie A, and Strasbourg and Lille (3) top the chart in France‘s Ligue 1.
Tottenham’s tally is also the joint-third most scored for one team among Europe’s top five leagues since 2010-11.
In over a decade since that point, only Swansea (eight own goals in 2013-14) and Paris Saint-Germain (eight own goals in 2017-18) have seen more go their way over an entire league season, meaning Tottenham still have nine games remaining this term to potentially surpass that number.
The race is on.