Tottenham are the most improved club in England during the last two seasons, as they have grown from top-four challengers to Champions League contenders.
The Lilywhites recent win over Real Madrid showed that they could not only qualify for the competition but come out on top against some of the best teams in Europe.
The main reason for their growth has been Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine coach has an excellent tactical mind and is very good at getting the best of the squad available to him.
Nearly every player at Spurs has improved under the tutelage of the coach and that is no mean feat.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane are the poster boys in attack, while Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are often talked about as two of the best defenders in the Premier League.
However, there are a number of unsung heroes in the Tottenham squad. One of their most important players is Son Heung-min. The South Korean doesn’t start every match, but he contributes with key goals and assists when he does get the opportunity to play.
The last week has been a good one for Son, personally, as he scored the winning goal for Tottenham in the Premier League against Crystal Palace, before following that up with two goals for his country against Colombia.
The former Bayern Leverkusen winger is a good finisher and his movement in the final third causes defences a whole host of problems.
His intelligence is what makes him so dangerous, as he anticipates what is going to happen ahead of time and takes up the right position to take advantage of that.
Against Palace, his goal came when the ball dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area and he finished smartly past Julian Speroni.
It would be wrong to suggest he knew the ball was going to arrive at his feet, but he took up a good position and gave himself a chance of becoming active.
How has his season been so far?
It will have been a frustrating one as he has been rotated and played in a variety of positions, including both wings, left wing-back and as a striker.
It would be his preference to be given a run of games in a single position, but he recognises his own value as a utility player in the Tottenham squad.
Pochettino has been regularly changing his tactics to suit the opposition and in Son, he has a player he trusts to fulfil a specific role.
At the time of writing, Son has scored twice in the Premier League and once in the Champions League.
He has yet to contribute an assist in either competition, but his underlying stats highlight his influence in the attacking half. The 25-year-old is averaging 2.66 shots and 1.42 chances created per ninety minutes in the Premier League.
These are fractionally down from last season’s averages of 3.48 and 1.91, but it is early in the campaign and he has yet to be given a sustained run in the team.
It was during Harry Kane’s absence at the beginning of this year when the South Korean found his form.
There were fears that the injury to the striker would derail Tottenham’s season, but Son stepped up to fill the void and Pochettino was the first to praise his performance after their 2-1 victory over Southampton in March.
“It was good. He had some chances, great movement in behind and connected with Dele [Alli] and [Christian] Eriksen. I was very, very pleased.”
The Argentine has a lot of faith in his players and would have been hoping for Son to perform in the absence of his star striker, but even he would have had minor doubts.
The comments above show how pleased he was with the deputy striker and it was the 25-year-old’s goal-scoring form that prevented Tottenham spending big on a striker in the summer.
Although his attacking stats are down from last season, Son is now contributing more off-the-ball as highlighted by his ball-winning stats.
He is averaging 0.71 tackles won and 0.71 interceptions per ninety minutes. Last season, he averaged 0.48 tackles won and 0.3 interceptions per ninety minutes.
Pochettino demands that his players work hard out of possession and the South Korean international is more than happy to do his bit.
He is relentless in his pressing and can never be faulted for a lack of effort, something that has become ingrained into the DNA of the team as a whole.
Can he push on after the international break?
The last week has been a reminder of Son’s ability and match-winning qualities, as he has scored three times in two matches for club and country.
For South Korea, he is a key player and his role reflects that, but it is different for him at Tottenham, as he has to take his opportunities when they arrive.
He manages to do that more often than not and his winning goal against Crystal Palace should be enough to earn him more game-time after the international break.
Tottenham have a great attacking trio of Kane, Alli and Christian Eriksen, but they will need to rely on Son to play a big role this season, especially if they want to progress in the Champions League.
Pochettino works his players hard and there have been signs of fatigue during the second half of the season in previous campaigns. This was improved last season, but if Spurs go deep into multiple competitions, it will be a concern again.
As a finisher, Son is one of the most reliable in front of goal and is very effective from range, as he has shown on several occasions since joining Tottenham.
He is capable of producing a match-winning moment from nothing when the team are playing poorly and that was the case against Crystal Palace last weekend.
The 25-year-old is never going to have the hype of Kane or Alli, but he is just as important for Pochettino’s side.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen could be one of Premier League’s greatest ever bargains
Christian Eriksen is getting better by the season and cost Spurs just £11.5 million.
This week has seen Arsenal legend Martin Keown singing the praises of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen. Speaking on BBC One’s Match of the Day (18th March) Keown stated:
“This player was always technically proficient, but he’s getting better all the time. It’s top level ability. He can pick a pass whenever he wants to. He just has everything.
“I enjoy watching him play. He wants to work, that’s part of the team ethic. He’s becoming the brains of the team.”
His comments came after Eriksen starred in the weekend win v Swansea City. The Dane scored twice as Tottenham booked their place in the FA Cup semi-final courtesy of a 3-0 triumph.
Keown then commented on the price Spurs paid for Eriksen back in 2013:
“I think they paid £12.5 million for him, that’s an absolute snip.”
Looking back now it is clear to see just how much of a bargain Spurs managed to bring in. Eriksen was approaching the end of his Ajax contract at the time, which did not help the Dutch side’s bargaining power.
Comparing Eriksen to his current contemporaries in the game it is clear to see just how incredible a deal this was for Spurs.
Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in January. The Brazilian cost a fee reported by Sky Sports to be £146 million. Tottenham fans will rightly believe that Eriksen is at least as good as the Barca newbie. In fact, many will suggest Eriksen is the superior operator.
Another barometer to consider in this case is that of Tottenham’s summer signing Davinson Sanchez. The Colombian, like Eriksen, was signed from Ajax but four years on and with circumstances different cost much more.
Sanchez cost a club record £42 million, according to the Guardian. That is a difference of over £30 million which highlights just how impressive the fee paid for Eriksen is. In the world of £200 million transfer fees looking back at the deal for Eriksen nearly five years ago will please Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
Tottenham will obviously hope they never have to sell the Dane. But if they did, the fee involved could easily amount to £100m-plus.
Which would certainly not be a bad return on the investment from Tottenham Hotspur’s point of view.
Sessegnon or Bale? Past or future? Spurs must make right move this summer
Tottenham Hotspur appear to be emerging as the frontrunners in the race to sign Fulham talent Ryan Sessegnon this summer.
The Times reported in January that Tottenham had made a £25 million bid the summer previously, but that Fulham value the teenager at around £50 million.
On top of that, Spurs are also being linked with a sensational move to bring Gareth Bale back to North London. Spanish source Diario Gol has reported that Bale is ready to leave Real Madrid this summer – and has decided a return to Spurs is his wish. Bale of course left Spurs for Madrid in what the Telegraph reported was a then world record £86 million fee.
It poses a big question for Spurs’s chairman Daniel Levy and manager Mauricio Pochettino. Do they start a new future, or go back to the past?
Sessegnon has been consistently compared to Bale in playing style. Much of that is down to his left-back origin. A lot of it is also down to his obvious precocious talent.
Tottenham will no doubt not be able to afford both players this summer. So what do they do?
The arrival of Bale would be a dream comeback. However, the Welshman turns 29 in June and has suffered with consistent injury problems over the past few years.
Sessegnon on the other hand is at the start of his career. The 17-year-old has already played nearly 70 professional games and scored 21 goals, many of those from left-back.
He would cost less than Bale and in the long-run would be a more stable investment. If Bale’s injury problems continued Tottenham could end up paying a larger sum for a player who cannot be relied upon.
Tottenham Hotspur should continue to look to the future in the case of Sessegnon or Bale. Bring in the Fulham star and hopefully reap the rewards.
Moroyin Omolabi released by Tottenham Hotspur one year after praise
The Nigerian defender briefly spent time on trial at Reading this year.
Nearly one year ago Tottenham Hotspur prospect Moroyin Omolabi was winning praise for his performances in the club’s youth teams.
After a win against Norwich City for the under-18s the Nigerian midfielder was given high praise by his manager John McDermott.
It came after he seamlessly dropped into a centre-back role for the game. Speaking to the official Tottenham Hotspur website after the game McDermott stated:
“Moroyin Omolabi, playing at centre-half, stood out against their front players who were very good.
“There were a lot of positives today and I was very proud of the way we played.”
It seemed that the 18-year-old might, therefore, be a player to keep tabs on for the Spurs first-team one day.
But despite impressing back in April of last year, it seems Omolabi has not progressed quite like Tottenham would have hoped.
In the most recent list of player registrations released by the FA the versatile teenager has been confirmed as released by Tottenham.
The 18-year-old left Spurs by mutual consent on the 27th February.
The teenager was a part of the UEFA Youth League squad for Spurs, but did not feature in a single game.
He played seven times in the Under-18 Premier League this campaign, scoring against West Ham back in October.
But after dropping out of contention at Spurs, the Nigerian spent time on trial at Reading – featuring in three games for the Berkshire club.
His final game for Tottenham appears to have been the 2-1 defeat against Fulham in October.
His failure to launch at Spurs just highlights the strength in depth Tottenham have in their youth ranks.
The teenager will now face a hunt for a new team in the summer, with his Tottenham days behind him.
It will be interesting to see if Reading follows up their interest in the player but Omolabi will now be on the hunt for a new team.
Hopefully, his education at Tottenham Hotspur will see him in good stead in his hunt for a professional career elsewhere.
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