The key factor behind the brilliance of Tottenham's Son Heung-min
Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min has been in breathtaking form in recent weeks. With two consecutive man-of-the-match performances for the Lilywhites, the South Korean international finally appears to have found his feet in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old’s excellent brace secured all three points against Middlesbrough on the weekend just gone, and the week before he proved an absolute handful against a Sunderland side that did very little but sit back and soak up pressure for ninety minutes.
His form has seen even Erik Lamela, who himself looked mightily impressive throughout the opening weeks of the season – consigned to the sidelines, limiting the Argentine to mere substitute appearances.
The major factor underpinning the Son’s impressive displays is his ability to beat an opponent in the dribble. Against Middlesbrough, the South Korean attempted a total 16 take ons, finding success in nine of these.
Averaging 4.7 successful take ons per appearance, the Tottenham midfielder now holds a comfortable monopoly in the Premier League when it comes to his dribbling output.
However, the plaudits shouldn’t end there. Not by any means. The ex-Leverkusen winger is also averaging more shots per game than any of his Spurs team-mates (4.7), as well as the most key passes (3.3).
His ability to beat his opposition number is exactly what makes Son such an effective asset. This is the major reason behind his re-introduction to the Tottenham starting line-up, and ultimately, this is the root cause of his match-winning displays.
The Lilywhites have lacked a penetrative winger in recent seasons. The likes of Christian Eriksen and Lamela prefer to play the ball to feet, cutting inside to influence the play, rather than taking on the opposition down the flank.
Moussa Sissoko was signed by Maricio Pochettino in the summer, in order to install this attribute, but had the Argentine head coach account for the huge improvements made by Son, he may have overlooked the former Newcastle man.
It seems ludicrous now, looking back to speculation in the closing stages of the summer, to even comprehend the notion of Son being sold during the window just gone. Right now, the 24-year-old practically picks himself in Pochettino’s Spurs side.
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