Chelsea FC mismatch shows Tottenham boss Nuno must find swift remedy to relieve Harry Kane frustration

Chelsea FC mismatch shows Tottenham boss Nuno must find swift remedy to relieve Harry Kane frustration

Greaves is one of the few players who unites these clubs and he still holds goal-scoring records at both, 60 years after leaving Chelsea and 51 after his contentious departure from Spurs.

In north London, it has long been assumed that Kane would eventually beat Greaves’s all-time scoring record of 266 and the 28-year-old, who is just 43 goals short, again targeted overhauling Greavsie before Sunday’s match.

Nowadays, though, that eventuality seems less than certain.

Kane’s Spurs future remains in doubt and the gulf between the two sides on Sunday will only have further convinced him that he should push for a move again next summer.

In the meantime, Nuno Espirito Santo is struggling to get the best from Kane, who was a peripheral figure in a chastening derby defeat for Spurs.

Writing off Kane or even doubting him in the slightest is a fool’s game. He will roar back brilliantly, as he always has, but Nuno needs to ensure his return to form comes sooner rather than later, with pressure mounting on the manager following consecutive 3-0 defeats to London rivals.

After failing to have a single shot or touch in the Crystal Palace box last weekend, Kane managed just two efforts on goal against Chelsea — a direct free-kick, which was blocked, and an effort comfortably saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga — but he was nowhere near his lethal best for the fourth League game running.

He recorded just two touches in the Chelsea box and his most meaningful contributions were midfield scraps for possession in deep or wide areas.

Heung-min Son was tasked with running in behind Chelsea and Giovani Lo Celso was deployed in a right-wing role, yet Kane’s average position was deeper than both his team-mates.

His performance was inevitably contrasted with Romelu Lukaku’s. The Belgian was well marshalled by Eric Dier in the first half but still created Chelsea’s best chance on the break and grew in menace as the visitors took control after the interval.

In the final 20 minutes, Lukuaku was causing mayhem with every Chelsea attack, while Kane’s involvement barely registered.

Harry Kane has yet to score a Premier League goal so far this season

/ Getty Images

The worry for Nuno is that he has played four League games with Kane and adopted two very different approaches in the defeats to Palace and Chelsea, but the striker has barely made an impact.

At the start of the summer, as England prepared for the European Championship, there was debate over whether Kane should abandon his habit of dropping deep and stay as a high focal point for the national team.

Ultimately, it felt like a moot point because Kane had proved at Spurs he could be an effective scorer and creator, finishing last season with the most goals and assists in the top flight.

From doing both, he is now doing neither. His only Spurs goals this season came in the win over Pacos de Ferreira in the Europa Conference League and he is yet to record an assist.

It is difficult to quantify how much of Kane’s form is down to fitness or his lingering frustrations at failing to leave the club in the summer, and how much is a result of Nuno’s decisions.

Frustrated though he may be with Spurs, Kane has always targeted personal glory and records remain in his sights, particularly Greaves’s and Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League haul.

Kane should be motivated enough to get firing, provided Nuno can find the right solutions, as Jose Mourinho managed last season.

Kane’s spectacular numbers under Mourinho proved that Spurs do not need to be playing particularly well for him to flourish, so if Nuno improves just one thing about his side, it should be getting more from his talisman ahead of another crucial London derby, against Arsenal, next weekend.

All that said, Chelsea will make a number of top centre-forwards look below par this season. Once Thiago Silva rose above Dele Alli to head the visitors in front four minutes into the second half, the result rarely felt in doubt and half-time substitute N’Golo Kante, whose introduction changed the game, added a second goal eight minutes later, via a wicked deflection off Dier.

Antonio Rudiger wrapped up Chelsea’s win in stoppage-time at the end of a one-sided second half, leaving Spurs and Kane well beaten again.