With 24 goals in 45 games (among all competitions), the 2021/2022 season was not only the most prolific in front of goal of Heung-Min Son’s career, but his 23 goals in 35 Premier League games were vital for the return of Antonio Conte’s Tottenham to the Champions League, and that the South Korean striker will end the season as top scorer in the English top flight, tied with Mohamed Salah. With the exception of his first campaign in London (2015/2016), Son had not dropped below 18 goals in any season with the spurs, so everything suggested that, once he reached his highest level of performance and with the improvements experienced in the squad throughout the summer transfer market, the South Korean would shine again with the Tottenham shirt this year. But quite the opposite. At this start of 2022/2023, Heung-Min Son was far from being that faithful squire of Harry Kane.
After six days of the Premier League and the first two games of the Champions League group stage, the South Korean had still not seen a goal. Eight games, eight starts and zero goals. And it is that, according to the AI of Olocip, Heung-Min Son continued to be a pivotal player in the game construction of the spursbut at the time of finishing he was weighing down the London team. The 18th Premier League player with the most impact on his team – 4th at Tottenham just behind Harry Kane, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Eric Dier – was not making a difference in front of goal, and the team resented The number of clear chances missed by the South Korean at this start of the course had led him to obtain, as pointed out Olocipa value of -2’45 in its completions. In other words, Heung-Min Son’s scoring account would have to record almost two and a half more goals, according to the AI. That is why, although Antonio Conte had not stopped trusting one of his best players, against Leicester City he gave him a wake-up call that in the end was the perfect solution.
In the match corresponding to matchday 8 of the Premier League, the Italian coach initially lined up Harry Kane, Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski in the attacking front. Or what is the same, Heung-Min Son started as a substitute with the spurs for the first time this course. A quite remarkable fact beyond 2022/2023, and that is that The South Korean has not been left out of Tottenham’s starting eleven in an official match since December 22, 2021, when he played the last half hour of a Carabao Cup match against West Ham. Likewise, it would be necessary to go back to the 2020/2021 season to see the ‘7’ of the spurs on the bench in a Premier League game (against Newcastle on matchday 30), since last season he started in all 35 league games he played.
Antonio Conte was sending a message to his footballer, and he would have no choice but to vindicate himself on the pitch. As he had already done on so many occasions during the 7 seasons that he has seen the elastic spur. When the South Korean came onto the pitch in the 59th minute, replacing the Brazilian striker, Tottenham was already winning 3-2 against Brendan Rodgers’ men, but his entry marked a before and after in the match. As the Tottenham coach said after the game, “having a player of Son’s level on the bench means that in a moment I can change the game.” So it was. That the ‘7′ had not yet released his scoring account this campaign? Well, the South Korean would do it triple, and in 13 minutes. A hat-trick, the third of his career in the Premier League, which served to silence all the criticism that began to emerge around his figure after the bad start to the championship. Three goals at 73 ′, 84 ′ and 86 ′ to settle the debate about his performance.
The Golden Boot is sincere
That is why, as Heung-Min Son himself explained at the end of the match, the “celebration” of the first of his three goals, in which he stopped standing in the middle of the pitch while a great roar flooded the stadium’s stands, It was a true reflection of his state of mind: “I couldn’t move. It’s been emotional for me, and I didn’t know what to do. I stood still, looking at the sky, at the crowd. The whole family, all the staff, my teammates and all the fans came to mind. That’s why I stood and thought.” Despite the fact that the South Korean contributes much more than goals in Tottenham -according to OlocipSon is the player in the Premier League who generates the most value from set pieces and the second, after Demarai Gray, with his driving – for an attacking player, goals mean a lot. “How am I going to be happy if I have had an incredible opportunity to score or convert chances. If I don’t score and I’m happy, I probably won’t be here.”recognized after the party.
The one who has been designated by the AI as MVP of the weekend in the five major European leagues, with a PIR of 10, is a highly demanding and non-conformist player, since he has admitted that “Sometimes I go home, even if we win the match, and I’m still sad about my performance and what I can do better, how to change the mistake and the chances I missed”. Some occasions that, this time, did enter. Heung-Min Son was also the best finisher of the day according to Olocip, and it is that only with his four completions (and three goals) he got a value of 2’64, which is equivalent to scoring more than two goals than expected. “Obviously it was a tough moment, with a tough first couple of games, but this is a lesson. I don’t think it was such a bad period, but In those difficult times I have learned many things and I have had very good people around me who have helped me, which has been very, very important”concluded in the post game.
First he stood still, then he ordered the critics to shut up, and in the last of his celebrations Heung-Min Son remembered one of those people around him who had helped him so much and had been so important to him in this downturn. performance. “He is a murderer, but I have a very, very good relationship with him”, the South Korean said affectionately about Gian Piero Ventrone, Tottenham’s physical trainer. And it is that the talk that he had with the Italian before the match against the foxes it meant a lot to the ‘7’: “It has helped me a lot in difficult times. He has always been by my side and that of all the employees. Even today, before leaving the training ground, we have had a couple of minutes of pleasant conversation that has made me feel very comfortable and very grateful”.