The sluggishness of Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham), the top scorer in the English Professional Football Premier League (EPL), is getting longer than expected. Some even point out that the country has gone beyond a slump and is in a period of decline.
Son Heung-min played full-time as a starter in the 2022-2023 EPL round 7 match against Manchester City (Man City) held at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England on the 20th (Korean time), but Tottenham’s 2-4 reverse defeat couldn’t stop
Son Heung-min, who worked with Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski as a side striker, could not raise an attack point.
On this day, he recorded only one shot on target. In the 36th minute of the first half, Ben Davies headed a cross from the left flank, but it was hit by the opposing defender and deflected into the arms of goalkeeper Ederson.
It is Son Heung-min who fell into a goal drought again.
Son Heung-min, who scored a total of 23 goals in the EPL in the 2021-2022 season and tied Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) as the top scorer, was mentioned as a potential candidate for the top scorer competition at the beginning of the season.
However, with the Qatar World Cup participation and bad news of injury overlapping, the news of cool goals is not heard as often as last season.
Son Heung-min scored his fourth league goal against Crystal Palace earlier this month after remaining silent for about four months after scoring a hat-trick in a match against Leicester City last September.
In the EPL, he is recording 4 goals and 2 assists, and including 2 goals in the UEFA Champions League (2 goals), 6 goals and 2 assists in the official match are all.
In Tottenham, Harry Kane, his best friend, is doing his part with 17 goals in the official match, but Son Heung-min, who scored more goals last season, only scored 6 goals, falling behind the competition for the top 4 in the league.
Several factors are mentioned, but it seems that a big variable that was not in the previous season had an impact.
Due to the tight schedule due to the Qatar World Cup and an orbital fracture sustained in November, it was difficult to wear a face mask to show normal condition.
After the surgery, as he forced himself to participate in the World Cup, his stamina decreased, and his vision was obscured by the mask.
Recently, he takes off his mask and runs, but it is difficult to compete as actively as before due to injury trauma.
In addition, disharmony with side defender Ivan Perisic, who was added this season, and Tottenham’s tactical change also provided an environment in which it was difficult for Son Heung-min to demonstrate his strengths.
However, as the slump lasted longer than expected, local reactions are getting sharper.
In the first half of the season, there is also an analysis that the view that was seen as a ‘temporary decline in form’ has recently entered a period of decline as the 30s pass.
CBS Sports recently claimed that “30-year-old Son Heung-min is not faltering for a moment. He has entered a period of decline.”
The Evening Standard went further and pointed out the reduced number of shots, saying, “Son Heung-min hesitates at the gate and shows inefficiency.” At the same time, he criticized, “Director Antonio Conte is hesitant to lower Son Heung-min to the bench.” 스포츠토토
In fact, there is a view that the criticism towards Son Heung-min is harsh.
This is because, except for Kane, there are few players who play their part in Tottenham’s attacking line.
Tottenham paid a transfer fee of 60 million pounds (approximately 91.8 billion won) last summer to reinforce the attacking team, and Hischarlisson, a Brazilian striker recruited from Everton, has scored only two goals in 17 official matches.
He returned from an injury at the Qatar World Cup and only recently returned to the team.
Kulusevski, who joined in the second half of last season and posted 13 offensive points (5 goals and 8 assists) in 18 games, has only scored 2 goals in official matches this season due to injuries.
Here, there is also an analysis that Conte’s tactical operation accelerated the decline of Son Heung-min’s skills.
He brought in Perisic, who had previously coached from Inter Milan (Italy), and strengthened the side wingback, but as a result, Perisic’s excessive aggressive tendencies are limiting Son Heung-min’s activities.
Another problem is that the counterattack situation in which Son Heung-min’s speed can be used while increasing the frequency of rear build-up compared to last season gave a great deal.
Despite such prolonged sluggishness, manager Conte shows unwavering trust in Son Heung-min.
Recently, he defended himself by saying, “Son Heung-min isn’t scoring as well as last season this season, but we’re talking about people, not robots.”