How Son Heung-min justified his selection over Vincent Janssen against Manchester City
Super Sunday will be remembered for a historic victory at White Hart Lane, as Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur brought a sudden end to Manchester City’s six-game winning start to life in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola. Despite the absence of last season’s top scorer, Harry Kane, the Lilywhites dominated proceedings, emerging with maximum points.
With Kane out of action, Son Heung-min was preferred for selection over summer arrival Vincent Janssen as Pochettino prepared to take on the top flight leaders. The South Korean international repaid his manager’s faith, continuing his excellent form with a performance that made life very difficult for the experienced opposition back-four.
Tasked with a different role to that in which he has impressed throughout the start of the season, Son filled in for the injured Harry Kane up front with a highly energetic display. With his movement off the shoulder driving the City defence back, space opened up for the likes of Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko, who both found joy in between the lines.
When the Lilywhites had possession, Son’s movement caused huge problems for the somewhat bewildered Manchester City defence. He fashioned two chances in all, while finding success in three dribbles, with his first key pass – a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Dele Alli – resulting in the hosts’ second goal of the match, as seen below:
Offering a very different option to that of Janssen, Son’s inclusion proved the perfect decision on this occasion. With Guardiola’s sides built on the foundations of a possession-based game, limiting the space available would be a necessity for Tottenham if they were to close the gap at the top of the English top flight table.
Off the ball, the South Korean formed the spearhead of Spurs’ aggressive pressing game, which gave City considerable difficulties when moving the ball out from defence. He made failed two tackles, which perhaps encapsulates his defensive prowess, or lack there of. Nonetheless, his desire to close down the space in the final third, proved pivotal in his side’s success at regaining control.
The 24-year-old continues to impress and his ability to make an impact in a number of diverse roles makes him an indispensable asset to Mauricio Pochettino. Tottenham fans’ worst fears must have been realised when Harry Kane hobbled off against Sunderland, but his talented South Korean teammate is proving there is little cause for concern just yet.