Analysing Son Heung-min's match-winning performance against Middlesbrough
Tottenham managed to win their third successive league match, which has moved them up to second in the table. It remains early, but Spurs started poorly last season and will be encouraged by their recent results. They have to deal with the Champions League this season and Mauricio Pochettino will have to manage his squad wisely. One player that has emerged at the beginning of the new season is Son Heung-min and he impressed again at Middlesbrough.
There are a lot of good attacking players in the Tottenham squad and during the summer, there were doubts about Son’s future at the club. He was linked with a move back to the Bundesliga and many expected him to leave. However, he has returned from the Olympics in great form and he is becoming a fixture in the starting eleven. For the last 12 months, the left wing position has been a problem, with both Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen being forced to play there, despite preferring central roles. It now looks like Son is the first choice in that position and the side looks a lot more balanced as a result.
At 24 years of age, the South Korean international fits into what is being built at White Hart Lane. Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino have looked to build a young squad, full of potential and it isn’t surprising that the team continue to improve on the pitch.
Son was very direct on Saturday, always trying to run with the ball and create problems for the Middlesbrough defence. He attempted 14 dribbles and was successful in half of those. There were occasions when he tried to do too much when he had possession, but his confidence is sky high and he didn’t give Antonio Barragan a moments rest. Pochettino will know that his forward players will hit form at different times, but he needs to make sure he selects those with confidence and Son certainly has that in abundance at the moment.
It is in front of goal where Son is impressing most and he scored his second brace of the season at Middlesbrough. Throughout the match, his movement off the ball was excellent and he kept finding space in dangerous areas, allowing him to have a total of four shots. His first goal showed his ability to find space, then shift the ball quickly to get a shot away and it was a smart finish. However, it was his second goal that showed his incredible technique as he managed to carry the ball into the area, before smashing past Victor Valdes. It was superb and showed the confidence that he has at the moment.
As expected from any player at Tottenham, Son is hard-working and contributes defensively, which is one of the many things that Pochettino demands. He won his only attempted tackle, but he was given more freedom as the left back on Saturday was Ben Davies. The Welshman is more conservative than Danny Rose, as a result Son is given more freedom to remain higher up the pitch.
At the moment, the South Korean international is the best attacker at the club, as the others are struggling to hit form. Dele Alli is improving, but his touch in the final third lacks confidence. This is why it is important to share the goal burden as others can step up when required. It’s unlikely that Son’s form is going to remain this impressive, but he now has settled in England and a contender to play regularly for Spurs.
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