With a sample size as small as the opening six games of a Premier League season, statistics are always going to be slightly skewed surprisingly before being evened out over the course of the campaign.
For example, Michail Antonio and Etienne Capoue are both currently among the top scoring players in the Premier League, with five and four goals respectively. As much as this is indicative of good form and does reflect their qualities as players, it is rather unlikely they will carry on scoring at anywhere near the same rate they are currently achieving for West Ham and Watford.
It is therefore with a sense of trepidation that the current standing for goals per minute is examined, but it does throw up some surprising results. Sergio Aguero is obviously right up there, as is the in form Marcus Rashford, but the leader of the table is an unexpected one. Even more amazingly, he isn’t even a striker. The man in question? Son Heung-Min.
After bagging a pair of braces on the road against Stoke and Middlesbrough, Son’s four Premier League goals have occurred in three matches, or 270 minutes, at a rate of a goal every 68 minutes. That beats Sergio Aguero’s goal every 70 minutes, Marcus Rashford’s goal every 79 and blows Diego Costa’s ratio of a goal every 106 minutes out of the water.
Best Goals Per Minute Ratio: Premier League 2016/17 (Min 2 goals)
- Son Heung Min (Tottenham) 68 mins per goal
- Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) 70 mins per goal
- Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) 79 mins per goal
- Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) 80 mins per goal
- Michail Antonio (West Ham United) 82 mins per goal
- Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 97 mins per goal
- Diego Costa (Chelsea) 106 mins per goal
- Etienne Capoue (Watford) 109 mins per goal
- Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) 117 mins per goal
- Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion) 128 mins per goal
Admittedly, Son has only played three matches, which can alter the stats slightly in his favour, especially as the games were against three struggling teams in the shape of Stoke, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, but four goals in three matches from midfield is a thoroughly impressive ratio that deserves a great deal of recognition.
It is not just the number of goals that Son has scored which is impressive, but it is the quality and variation that is astounding. Against Stoke, he scored with an instinctive left foot poke from a cross, before doubling his tally with a gorgeous curling effort with his right on the counter. Against Middlesbrough, he showed incredible dribbling and close control in the penalty area when firing in the opener, then adding a second after pressing to win the ball back and curling a stunning shot right into the top corner past a static Victor Valdes.
There has been a bit of everything in Son’s goal-scoring, which makes him mighty impressive. In a typical South Korean stereotype, he works phenomenally hard for his team, hence the second goal against Middlesbrough, but the limits of his game stretch so much further.
He is equally comfortable shooting from distance as he is poaching in the box. His tactical intelligence and freedom to move around means he is a danger from all angles for the defence, and he is a remarkably quick and skillful player to boot.
Can Son keep up this incredible tally? Well, with Harry Kane injured, there is definitely going to be a burden falling upon the rest of Tottenham’s attacking players, and Son has already shown to be a man who can carry this on his calm shoulders.
One thing that may limit Son’s goal-scoring is Mauricio Pochettino’s penchant for changing his team. Erik Lamela has already sat a couple of games out to preserve his fitness, and the introduction of Moussa Sissoko has already added more competition to a fairly packed area. Son does carry the benefit of being able to fill in up front, though, meaning that if Vincent Janssen is struggling to settle, the Korean could take up that position and utilise his poaching abilities to the maximum.
As for previous goalscoring records, the 24-year-old’s stats suggest that he can keep up this run. Even in is first season with Spurs, which was interrupted thanks to injury and acclimatising to the Premier League, Son managed four goals from 13 starts, at a rate of around a goal every three games. His final three seasons in the Bundesliga, with Hamburg and then Bayer Leverkusen, were yielding around a goal every 200 minutes or so, hitting double figures in each campaign. There can be no doubt then, that the improving midfielder will reach these targets, if not better, given a full season in the Spurs starting XI.
He probably won’t be topping Aguero in the scoring charts come the end of the season, but don’t see Son Heung-Min’s form as a flash in the pan. With plenty to prove and plenty of talent to help him, this isn’t just a purple patch for Son, this is the start of an exceptional season.
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