Vincent Janssen arrived from AZ Alkmaar in the summer for a fee of £17m with high hopes of succeeding in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur. To say things haven’t gone to plan so far would be an understatement…
The Dutchman looked impressive in pre-season and in the early stages of this season, but has failed to get any momentum going, not to mention that Janssen has failed to score a goal from open play in a Spurs shirt.
It all started off so well for the 22-year-old. A goal against Inter Milan in a friendly was a good start to his Spurs carrerr, but I was really impressed with what I saw from Janssen in the opening game of the season at Goodison Park. Spurs were 1-0 down and playing some of the worst football I had seen them play in a long time. That was until Janssen entered the pitch off the bench.
The striker held the ball up unbelievably well, and from the moment he came on, Spurs looked a completely different side, knocking the ball around with a bit of confidence. Soon after the substitution, Spurs were level through an Erik Lamela header and it was a completely different game. Janssen had changed the game coming off the bench. He did in fact have a chance to score a Premier League debut goal and secure all three points, but saw his close range shot saved.
Janssen looked equally as impressive in the game against Crystal Palace. He played in a two up front with Harry Kane, and held the ball up well once again and put in a strong performance. The only thing missing from what was a good display was a goal, missing a good chance when played through by Dele Alli.
The 22-year-old Spurs striker did not seem to be too fazed by the two misses early on in the season, but it is worth noting that apart from the Liverpool game after the Palace win, we have rarely seen the striking partnership of Kane and Janssen, which I think is the key to unlocking all of the Dutchman’s potential.
August was a good month for Janssen, and I am sure that I joined many Spurs fans in thinking it would be a matter of time before the Dutch international bagged his first goal in a Spurs shirt. We would be right in the sense that Janssen would go on to net against Gillingham in the EFL Cup, but it was from the penalty spot as the wait went on for a first goal from open play.
The longer that wait has gone on, the more Janssen’s confidence has dropped. His first team minutes have been limited too, also knocking his confidence. Despite Janssen going on to score from the penalty spot in games against Leicester and Liverpool, we are still yet to see the first goal from open play.
In the game on Sunday against Aston Villa, we saw the definition of a striker extremely low on confidence. Although the goals were not flooding in early on in the season, Janssen’s hold up play appeared to be strong and he could lay a good ball off or in behind the defence. Now, even that has gone. The Dutchman now takes way too long on the ball to make a decision, and his movement around defenders is nowhere near good enough.
He seems afraid to make runs in behind, just in case he misses the eventual chance that may fall his way. There is a huge difference between being out of form and being low on confidence. When Harry Kane is out of form, he may not score, but he gets himself into positions to score. That is the difference, and this mental block that Janssen has is something that he must overcome, and fast.
I for one am surprised that Janssen hasn’t kicked on after an impressive string of performances early on in the season. The problem with the 22-year-old is that his confidence is so low it is unbelievable. This is something that Mauricio Pochettino must work with the Dutchman on and show him his full backing to get him back to top form. Confidence is the only problem for Janssen. He has all of the skills to succeed to succeed in English football, and the quicker he can get over this mental block on the football pitch, the better.