September 18, 2021, 15:24

Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane compared ahead of Manchester United v Tottenham

Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane compared ahead of Manchester United v Tottenham

The Premier League’s top goalscorers will go head to head when Manchester United host Tottenham live on Sky Sports this Saturday – but how do the strikers compare?

Lukaku hit the ground running at United, scoring seven goals in his first seven league games, but failed to score during the 0-0 draw at Liverpool and the 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield at the weekend.

Kane suffered a customary goal drought in August, but broke his duck with two goals at Everton in September and has since scored twice on three occasions, against West Ham, Huddersfield and Liverpool.

Man Utd vs Tottenham

October 28, 2017, 11:30am

Live on

Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass

But how do the two strikers compare and how have they developed? We look at the stats…

Despite not scoring in the opening month, Kane currently leads the goalscoring chart with eight, while Lukaku’s current two-game drought means the Belgian is drawn second with Sergio Aguero on seven.

Top PL goalscorers 2017/18 Player Goals Harry Kane 8 Romelu Lukaku 7 Sergio Aguero 7

The radar graphic below shows how Kane is far more prolific than Lukaku with his preferred right boot and typically takes more shots in a game than the Belgian.

On average, the England international takes almost twice as many shots off target (1.9 to 1.0) but also hits the target more frequently (2.4 to 1.9).

In contrast. Lukaku narrowly outscores Kane with his favoured left foot and has a superior shooting accuracy (65.4 per cent to 55.3 per cent) and shot conversion (26.9 per cent to 21.1 per cent) this season – but fewer shots from closer range would boost these stats.

Both strikers have only scored one header so far this term, but United’s frontman wins twice as many aerials during a game (2.9 to 1.5), typically holding up play from long balls.

Perhaps surprisingly, Lukaku has two assists to Kane’s one so far this season and also edges his rival for average passes completed per game (14.4 to 13.0).

In contrast, Kane is twice as likely to complete dribbles (1.5 to 0.7) and make tackles (0.5 to 0.2), while he also records a higher number of touches in the box (7.6 to 5.4).


Having made his senior debut in August 2012, Tottenham graduate Kane emerged during 2013/14, scoring three goals from 499 minutes, but he flourished during the following season with 21 goals.

The England striker has outscored Lukaku in every season from 2014/15, hitting a career-high 29 league goals last term to claim the Golden Boot – despite only playing 2,531 minutes.

Chelsea loaned Lukaku to Everton in 2013/14 and the Belgian scored 15 goals during his first season and the Toffees signed the Belgian on a permanent deal in July 2014.

After an underwhelming 10 goals in 2014/15, Lukaku enjoyed two successful seasons at Goodison Park, with season-ending league tallies of 18 and 25, respectively, before making a blockbuster £90m move to Manchester United this summer.

The graphic below shows how Lukaku’s goal ratio has improved in each of his last three seasons, while Kane’s has taken a dip this season after his August drought.

In terms of headed goals, Kane is currently on par with Lukaku for the first time in his career – albeit from only nine games played.

Kane’s aerial prowess has improved season on season, while Lukaku would have typically scored around two headers by this stage of a season, on average.

One notable difference between the players is the locations from where they shoot. Kane is far more dynamic and will attempt to shoot from almost any angle or range – epitomised by the attempt from inside in his own half – shown on the map below.

Kane’s long-range goalscoring also has a trajectory in ascent, striking two from outside the box in 2015/16, five last term and hitting two this season, already.

In contrast, Lukaku is yet to score from range during this campaign and only netted one in each of the last two seasons.

However, the Belgian appears to have benefited from attacking support at United, recording an above-average personal spike with two assists this season, compared with Kane’s one – albeit at an early stage.


In terms of average activity and positional development, Lukaku has always preferred to operate in the right-of-centre region in the opposition’s half and make diagonal runs into the box.

At United, the activity map below show how Lukaku has concentrated his activity in a far more static area than in previous seasons at Everton, tending not to track back.

Conversely, Kane has preferred to work on the left but his map indicates a clear positional development from an activity concentration on the left flank to more central areas last term.

This season, Kane clearly still prefers the left-of-central passage through the penalty box, but his activity is far more evenly distributed than two years ago.


In terms of running, Kane has averaged more ground for the last two seasons, reaching 10.0 km a game this term compared with Lukaku’s 9.0 km.

However, Lukaku has overtaken Kane for sprints this season, averaging 43.4 a game to Kane’s 38.9.

The Belgian exceeded his ‘expected goals’ (xG) ratio by a remarkable 63.2 per cent last season, scoring 10 goals more than Opta’s metric would expect, while Kane’s tally outperformed xG by 56 per cent.

Expected goals (xG) key points

  • A shot from 8 yards has a higher xG value than a shot from 18 yards
  • A shot directly in front of goal has a higher xG value than a shot from a tight angle
  • A shot taken by the foot has a higher xG value than a header

This season, Lukaku has surpassed xG by a slender 4.3 per cent, while Kane is already 23.8 per cent ahead of the metric’s projection.

Which striker will have the final say when the two teams meet on Saturday?

Watch Manchester United v Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday


Related posts