What a weekend. What a weekend! Son Heungmin with a man of the match performance, Suk Hyunjun with a brace (but was it enough?) against Monaco, and good performances from other KPA’s. Catch up on the highlights in the weekend roundup!
At a Glance
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Lee Chung Yong||Crystal Palace||Bournemouth||Not in squad, 2-2 D|
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Ki Sung Yueng||Swansea||West Brom||Full 90, 7.9 rating, 1-0 W|
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Son Heung Min||Tottenham||Stoke City||Goal, Assist, MOTM, Off 86′, 5-1 W|
|Saturday||2:00 PM||Kwon Chang Hoon||Dijon||@Guingamp||Off 25′, 0-4 L|
|Saturday||2:00 PM||Suk Hyun Jun||Troyes||@Monaco||2 Goals, Off 68′, 2-3 L|
|Sunday||9:00 AM||Lee Seung Woo||Hellas Verona||@SPAL||Bench, 2-2 D|
|Sunday||12:00 PM||Ji Dong Won||Augsburg||Hertha Berlin||Bench, 1-1 D|
|Sunday||12:00 PM||Koo Ja Cheol||Augsburg||Hertha Berlin||Off 80′, 1-1 D|
In Austria, Lee Jinhyun played 68 minutes in a 0-1 L, Hwang Heechan played 85′ in a 0-0 D.
Son can do it on a rainy night against Stoke
Though yes, the game was at home in Wembley as opposed to being at Stoke-on-Trent, Son Heungmin was just fantastic in his best performance in ages against a Stoke side that just couldn’t handle his skill. Pochettino stuck to his Plan A formation of previous seasons, the 4-2-3-1, and that high-octane attack force of Winks, Son, Alli, Eriksen and Kane, with the Korean as the left midfielder.
On paper, given that Stoke were settling into a back 5, Son often was up against 18 year-old rightback Thomas Edwards. This fatal underestimation of Son’s ability by Stoke manager Mark Hughes gave Son plenty of time and space to influence the match. In the 20th minute, in the far left flank, Son does a couple stepovers and creates Spurs’ first goal – good technique, opens up his body, decent cross in for Kane and Ryan Shawcross deflects it into his own net. He manages to get a couple more crosses in later in the half from the same position because Edwards isn’t able to keep up with Son’s technique.
But Son also found lots of joy cutting inside in a two-man central midfield of Darren Fletcher and Joe Allen (hardly the quickest bunch), It’s how he almost assisted a goal to Kane in the 36th minute – picks up the ball wide, a quick dribble at Allen and a deft throughball to Kane, who is expected to score on 1v1 situations but misses here.
In the 52nd minute, Son got his goal, and it’s a combination of simple tactical instructions and brute pace that creates it. Edwards is caught out in a line that’s already very high and lets Son sprint into the space behind teenager and Kurt Zouma. Dele Alli’s throughball, Son’s placed finish. 2-0. In the 64th, after Kane put Spurs up 3-0, Son once again forces Edwards into an error, threatening to latch on to a sweeping cross in behind the defense with a dangerous run. Edwards, to his credit, follows Son this time, but under duress can only tee up the ball to Kane, whose punishing drive was Stoke’s consequence for not clearing their lines.
Son completed his superb game – we’ll get to the stats in just a second – with his first assist of the season, picking up the ball deep, making a 40-yard run, and hitting a great, weighted throughpass on the run between the centrebacks to Eriksen – 5-0.
33 passes, with 88% accuracy – that’s Ki Sungyueng statistics right there – 6 chances created, an assist, 3 shots on target and his 7th goal of the year. WhoScored gives him a 9.1 rating – the best in the Premier League. He’ll be on some Team of the Week’s, that’s for sure. What less from the AFC International Player of the Year?
Suk Hyunjun with a brace!
After scoring three goals in November, Suk Hyunjun continued his fiery form against Monaco with his first Ligue 1 brace. Granted, they were definitely a case of “right place, right time”, but it’s the proof that doing the basis well can lead to opportunities, even against the toughest of opponents. The first goal is all thanks to his teammate, Saif Khaoui, with a great run and curling shot spilled by Subasic. Suk stayed onside and prodded it home. 5 minutes after halftime, Suk got his second, chasing down a back pass and using his large frame to get in the way of Subasic’s botched clearance. A fortunate bounce off of his arm (shh, no one noticed) took the ball goalwards and it was another empty net tap-in for 2-0.
Unfortunately, Troyes blew the lead and Monaco came back to win 3-2, moving Troyes to 17th, clear of the drop only by goal differential. Given how isolated Suk was, he did well to even give them a shot and finishing fortunate chances. Hopefully, now that he’s got 5 goals this year (14th in Ligue 1 scoring), his good form will continue.
Ki Sungyueng had a really good game for Swansea. That “massive match” Ki was talking about against West Brom saw Paul Clement’s side finally run out winners for their first win since mid-October against Huddersfield. Ki played 35 passes at an 85% success rate, as well as 6 crosses, 5 key passes, 3 longballs and being fouled 4 times along the way. It’s not his usual haul, and suggests Ki played more of an attacking role. Expect him to face a very tough challenge midweek as they host Premier League champions Man City.
Look at this: he was Swansea’s highest player in the match.
— 11tegen11 (@11tegen11) December 9, 2017
Koo Jacheol was quiet over his 80 minute spell as Augsburg managed a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim to move above Borussia Dortmund into 7th. Had they won, they would have been in the Champions League places and may indeed have been by Christmas… Ji Dongwon was on the bench, at least, but did not feature. His national team prospects get lower with every minute he sits on the bench, and every goal Suk Hyunjun scores…
Kwon Changhoon was brought off really early at Dijon had a night to forget in Guingamp. An early red card to leftback Haddadi meant Dijon needed a sacrificial lamb to bring on another defender, and it was Kwon who came off.
Lee Seungwoo was in the 23 man squad but did not play for Hellas Verona.
I don’t know what other people say about him but we make sure he gets the credit he deserves, not only because he is a great player but because he is a great professional and a great kid. It’s very good to work with him. – Mauricio Pochettino on Son Heungmin