Hat-trick hero – Harry Kane rises above the pressure
Goal and Sure have partnered to create the Pressure Index, the only way to measure how players are handling the stress of the most competitive league
Tottenham may well have stopped looking ahead, but coming into this weekend there was plenty to see over their shoulder.
Chelsea’s victory over Swansea on Saturday had seen the runaway Blues move 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League, with the title chase looking all but over.
The race for Champions League places, however, is still some way from the final straight and Tottenham Hotspur could ill-afford to let the pace drop.
With Arsenal, and both Manchester clubs out of action this weekend, Spurs had the chance to return to the front of the chasing pack, and were desperate to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to fellow UCL-hopefuls Liverpool in their previous league game.
Striker Harry Kane was always going to be the key. He had netted ten goals in his last nine appearances in domestic competition, and three in his last two league games versus Stoke.
And the England international continued his fine form to score an impressive 94/100 on the Goal Pressure Index, presented by Sure and powered by Opta data, which provides the first ever system to measure and rate a team and player’s performance under pressure.
The Goal Pressure Index uses more than 750,000 data points as well as factors including league position, point in the season and the opposition to calculate a rating out of 100 for every Premier League player every week.
Kane took just 13 minutes to fire Tottenham into the lead, latching on to a loose ball inside the box to fire home the 100th goal of his club career.
He then quickly grabbed his 101st, hammering home a wonderful second as he perched on the edge of the box before volleying home a Christian Eriksen corner with his weaker left foot on 31 minutes.
Tottenham were all but out of sight, but Kane wasn’t done yet. More history was ready to be made, and the 23-year-old’s deflected free-kick on 37 minutes saw him grab his third hat-trick of 2017 in all competitions, on what was his 11th appearance for Spurs since the turn of the year.
It was his fourth overall in the Premier League for Spurs – no player in club history has registered more in the competition (Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe both have three).
“It’s nice to get those kind of records, but hopefully there will be another 100 within the next few years,” said Kane.
Coach Mauricio Pochettino certainly thinks so.
“Maybe he has started to be a legend with all his goals and how he behaves, how professional he is and how like a man he is, he has the perfect profile to be a legend for Tottenham,” raved the Argentine.
And Kane’s heroics also inspired a club hat-trick, as he raced away on the stroke of half-time to roll in Delle Alli for a fourth and give Spurs their third consecutive 4-0 Premier League victory over Stoke.
Alli was another top performer on a weekend when Kane and his team-mates dominated. Alli netted himself a Pressure Index score of 91, while two assists from Eriksen saw the Dane rack up a total of 88 and ensure three Tottenham players featured in the Pressure Index top six from the weekend’s Premier League action.
Leaders Chelsea were the other big Pressure Index winners, as goalscorers Pedro and Cesc Fabregas both rated 89, with Everton’s Idrissa Gueye making up the top six with a score of 89 after giving the Toffees the lead in their 2-0 victory over Sunderland.
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