Son Heung-Min: On Fire [Statisticians Verifies It] + U23 AFC Championship Korea 3:2 Australia (update)

Son’s form is so on that it’s worth a pause and take in the moment that Son is having right now -particularly after his Man of Match dominating performance against Everton (including scoring his 5th consecutive home PL goal – see Jinseok’s post). Numerous analysts, pundits and writers all across Europe have taken notice of and has been talking about Son, this despite the media spotlight on Harry Kane for obvious goal scoring reasons.


OptaPro’s operates their own blog that data crunches through their layers of stats and came out with an impressive piece on Son Heung-Min’s “evolution into one of the league’s most dangerous players.” Check that below:


Here’s a small teaser for you data heads out there

From Tom Worville’s post:

We now look at chance quality using expected goals. Looking at the above shot map, Son’s 16.8 xG total isn’t a surprise, but only four players have outperformed their xG to a larger extent since 2015.

Son Table 3

While he sits alongside some of the league’s best finishers, Son’s ranking here is supported by a fruitful 2016/17 campaign, which the forward has built on this year. Son’s contribution to a high volume shot team has paid dividends, and always looking to get that shot away once in the final third will have certainly contributed to this…

Worville adds more head spinning data, including his versatility in positions and shooting with both feet.

Meanwhile, SkySport’s Data Analyst Adam Smith contextualizes Son’s stats further to posit the proof that Son’s positive consistency on a number of metrics this season (and last season) have cemented Son’s role within Pochettino’s selection process.  Check that below:


The Tavern had made mention of this consistency -at least as far as overall match performances go – look at this post from December – what I had thought at that moment vs Stoke as Son’s best performance in a Spurs uniform. Yet here we are in the new year, Son still plugging away with efficiency, creativity, pace and making quality decisions -particularly in the final third.


SI’s 90 Minutes culled this stat: Where Son leads his Spurs teammates is successful dribbles with 39. That is more than Kane (33), Mousa Dembele (31), Alli (22) and Jan Vertonghen (17).

The Premier League stats site lists Son with his 8 goals currently tied for 10th in the league in that metric (alongside Gabriel Jesus, Lacazette, and Martial) and just above Coutinho (who departed already for the sunny side of Barcelona).

Those stats only tell a part of the whole picture.


Sachin Nakrani on Guardian’s Football Weekly’s podcast:

I adore Son, he’s genuinely one of my favorite footballers…I was at Wembley on Saturday…I thought Son was absolutely outstanding. I’d say arguably at the moment, he’s Tottenham’s 2nd most important attacking player, above Erikson and Alli… he gives them that injection of pace that they lack in the team…he’s massively underrated, he’s a really good footballer…

and here’s Barry Glendening from the same podcast:

My favorite part of his performance -and it was just an outstanding performance from start to finish – was when he received the ball to tee up Harry Kane for Spurs’ 2nd (goal) and there was this spin that stitched up Jonjoe Kenny (laughs)…it was just remarkable – the execution – the idea – and it was amazing. He’s a wonderful player…”


THIS spin is what Glendening was referring to:

Outrageousness not over, Son was instrumental in a goal where every Spurs on the field got a touch on the ball before Erikson bundled the ball into the net for the 4th and emphatic goal that night. Charlie Scott made a nice graphic and mentioned Son’s pivotal role in the sequence.


And here’s that replay…


Last note on Son, he’s been humble about the fanfare around his recent form, telling the media he’s enjoying the moment but his focus is on continual  improvement (another reason why Spurs supporters are absolutely gaga over Son). However, as much as he’s dismissed contract extension rumors, military conscription looms over it all. We’ll have more on that matter later…

UPDATE: ok take it with a grain of salt, but I just happened to listen to James Richardson’s new Totally Football podcast and his guest Benji Lanyado (from Stop! Hammer Time podcast) makes a eyebrow raising assertion. Let’s go to the transcription:

I can’t think of a player who…on his current form – I think he (Son Heung-Min) is the best Asian footballer ever.

Park Ji-Sung is the most decorated Asian footballer in the west with 4 league titles, a Champions League and a couple of Erdivisies as well…we’ve got to mention Cha Bum-Kun – who was one of the driving forces behind excellent Eintracht Frankfurt and Leverkusen teams in the 80’s and won 2 UEFA Cups. But on form, I think Son is the best Asian footballer I’ve ever seen.

Ok, got to move on from the Son lovefest, Kwon Chang-Hoon is getting a bit of attention as well for his form in Dijon…

That tweet sent out before Kwon and Dijon got crushed midweek by PSG (don’t ask – chalk it up as a loss and MOVE on – wait a tic, Kwon did manage a shot that hit the post)…


Bad news for Suk:

That happened late in the game against Angers, Troyes lost 3:1 yesterday.


AFC U23 Championship time. He’s what happened yesterday

KOREA U23 Advances to the knockout round / eliminates Australia 

It was the last group game, a showdown between Korea and Australia — both wondering about their form after Korea’s miserly scoreless draw with Syria and Australia losing shockingly earlier to Vietnam. The offense somehow kicked into high gear and Korea found themselves up 3-0! (and should have had more) but the final 20 minutes of the game was a bit too close for comfort. I finally found a stream and it all went from bad to worse.

Tense minutes later, the full time whistle blew:

Full Time Korea 3:2 Australia.

My not so thorough U23 notes (having only watched the last 20 minutes) Han Seung-Gyu looked really impressive. He was the creator for the first goal, and scored a nifty goal himself. Lee Geun-Ho (I’ll call him Junior Lee Geun-Ho) was at the right place at the right time to finish cooly. Save for a glitchy moment, heroic goalkeeping from Kang Hyeon-Mu – someone to keep monitoring for the future.  The defense looked fragile, let’s hope they can keep it together enough for the offense to pile on a goal-safety margin.


Korea tops the group, Vietnam runners up, Australia goes home. Korea faces Malaysia next in the round of 8 / Quarterfinals on January 20th – kickoff 3AM US EST (ouch)/ a more reasonable 5PM Korea time.


And this also in:

-That translates into 9am US EST / 11 PM Korea Time on March 24



Good news for the K-League, which just released their 2018 schedule…

Han also tweeted that military clubs Asan and Sangju has to implement the “U-22/23 rule, which requires all clubs to start at least one player under the age 22/23 to be able to use all 3 substitutions. Both military clubs have so far been exempt from the rule.”

Meanwhile in Daegu:


New KPA alert:

UPDATE: just saw this on BSK, Jeong Woo-Young joined Bayern Munich’s U19 side at the beginning of January and participated in a few friendlies.  He scored last weekend against Turkish side Altinordu [scrub to 1:04 in the video, he’s #11]


Last Thought: with Hong Jeong-Ho transferring to Jeonbuk, I’ll be curious to see if Shin Tae-Yong can utilize an virtual all-Jeonbuk defensive line (along with Kim Jin-Su / Kim Min-Jae / Choi Chul-Soon) with Park Joo-Ho (newly transferred to Ulsan from BVB) as another LB/LWB option for the World Cup.  It’s worth noting that the last 2 World Cup trophy winners (not that Korea has a realistic snowball’s chance in hell to win it all this year) in Spain and Germany were thought to be successful partly due to managers simply fielded players from largely 2 domestic clubs: Barcelona/Real Madrid in 2010 and Bayern Munich/BVB in 2014. That may be an overgeneralization, but the thought is national team chemistry (difficult to piece together usually) would be naturally built-in if you utilize players familiar with each other – which a national team manager can easily do by selecting from fewer clubs.



About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
The old Tavern Owner


  1. If you’re a fan of Tottenham (of which I am not, but gotta respect them), that 4th goal from Erickson brings tears to your eyes. Incredible team build up

  2. “-That translates into 9am US EST / 11 PM Korea Time on March 24”

    Just wanted to point out that this is after Day Light Saving so it would be 10am US EST/9am US CST.

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