Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Kane vs Lukaku: Duel of the in-form strikers

Published:Friday | March 3, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Sunderland's Lamine Kone (left) and Everton's Romelu Lukaku run after the ball during an English Premier League at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England last Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane.
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LONDON (AP)

They are 23-year-old strikers in the form of their lives, leading the race to be the English Premier League's top scorer, and blossoming after circuitous routes to the top of the game. One is lean, hard-working, and can score all types of goals.

The other has a boxer's build, has been criticised for his work rate, and relies on physique over technique.

Both are model professionals off the field and highly sought-after for being so consistent at doing one of the hardest jobs in football.

And they are going head to head on Sunday at White Hart Lane.

Born within 77 days of each other, Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku are the priceless assets that Tottenham and Everton who have recently been just outside English football's established elite want to build their futures around.

Kane and Lukaku have each scored a league-high 17 goals, along with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, and have more than 20 goals for club and country this season.

Kane has three hat-tricks in his last nine appearances, while Lukaku recently scored four in a game.

Kane might just have the edge between them, perhaps because he plays for a superior team. Tottenham are second in the league and Everton seventh. He made a surprising breakthrough at Spurs in the 2014-15 season, after loans spells in the lower leagues with Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich, and Leicester, where his scoring wasn't prolific.

Now he is first choice at his local club he has 20 goals in all competitions for the third straight season and for England. Kane is striving to retain the league's Golden Boot after scoring 25 goals last season, and believes he is "up there" with the best in the world on current form.

"When people have said I'm a one-season wonder, that's motivated me," Kane said. "I want to prove them wrong and I know, in myself, that I will always score."

Lukaku a powerfully built, 6-foot-3 (1.90m) striker has just tied Duncan Ferguson as Everton's highest-ever scorer in the Premier League with 60 goals. His tally came in 129 games as opposed to Ferguson's 239 across two spells.

The Belgium international also had to fight to get to where he is after failing to establish himself at Chelsea, which he joined from Anderlecht in 2011 as a seemingly natural heir for Didier Drogba. He had spells on loan at West Bromwich Albion in 2012-13 (scoring 17 league goals) and then at Everton the following season (15), before completing a permanent club-record move to Goodison Park in 2014.

Under Ronald Koeman, who was hired as Everton manager in the last off season, Lukaku is working harder off the ball than previously, putting himself about outside the area as well as inside it. Diego Costa (16 goals) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (15) are the others fighting for the Golden Boot in what is proving to be a season for the big-name striker.

 

LIVERPOOL vs ARSENAL

 

The teams have been struggling for form and confidence since the turn of the year, and the losing team at Anfield will likely drop to sixth place, behind a resurgent Manchester United.

This is the Arsenal players' first league outing in three weeks, and they won't have another for two more weeks.

Liverpool have one league win in seven attempts in 2017. While the team has lost five games against teams in the bottom half of the standings this season, it is unbeaten in eight matches against other sides occupying the top six.

 

ON THIS WEEKEND

 

 

Tomorrow's games

 

7:30 a.m: Man United vs Bournemouth

10 a.m: Leicester vs Hull City

10 a.m: Stoke City vs Middlesbrough

10 a.m: Swansea vs Burnley

10 a.m: Watford vs Southampton

10 a.m: West Brom vs Crystal Palace

12:30 a.m: Liverpool vs Arsenal

 

Sunday's games

 

8:30 a.m: Tottenham vs Everton

11 a.m: Sunderland vs Man City

 

Monday's game

 

3 p.m: West Ham vs Chelsea

 

 

Points standing

 

Pts P W D L GF GA GD

1. Chelsea 63 26 20 3 3 55 19 36

2. Tottenham 53 26 15 8 3 50 18 32

3. Man City 52 25 16 4 5 51 29 22

4. Arsenal 50 25 15 5 5 54 28 26

5. Liverpool 49 25 14 7 5 55 33 21

6. Man United 48 25 13 9 3 38 21 17

7. Everton 44 26 12 8 6 42 27 15

8. West Brom 40 26 11 7 8 36 32 4

9. West Ham 33 26 9 6 11 35 44 -9

10. Stoke 32 26 8 8 10 30 40 -10

11. Burnley 31 26 8 4 13 28 37 -9

12. Watford 31 26 8 7 11 30 43 -13

13. S'hampton 30 25 8 6 11 28 31 -3

14. B'mouth 26 26 7 5 14 36 51 -15

15. Leicester 24 26 6 6 14 27 44 -17

16. Swansea 24 26 7 3 16 32 57 -25

17. M'brough 22 26 4 0 12 19 28 -9

18. C Palace 22 26 6 4 16 33 46 -13

19. Hull 21 26 5 6 15 23 50 -27

20. Sunderland 19 26 5 4 17 24 48 -29