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.
Passmaps & xGplot for Swansea against WBA. #passmap #xGplot #autotweet pic.twitter.com/oJBfNNT09N
— 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
As a fan of the KNT, I should be happy about Son and Suk doing well. But I’m a fan of the KNT- TBH I don’t really care if Tottenham or Troyes do well. In fact, I never even watched these teams play before our boys went there. I’m happy they did well, and I’m not trying to dump on those clubs, but… it just highlights that our talent is really not balanced for a cohesive KNT team.
I’d be happy if our best player was our goalkeeper and we had shitty attackers. Great goalkeepers take their teams far in tournaments. If you have a great goalie, you always have a fighting chance. Next, oh I don’t know, it might be a good idea to have players who can defend well- just a tiny wish! Why the hell does the KNT always lack in these areas?
I’d really like to know why our players who go to big clubs always lean to the attacking side. We’ve had nobody do shit since Lee Yong Pyo. The guys who did leave Korea went to OK clubs and got zero playing time. Whatever youth system we have, it has seriously effed SK in terms of finding and developing defense. Make zero sense to me.
Can any of these guys persuade their coach to let them play defense until after the World Cup?
Korean kids, like most kids, want to attack. Park Ji-sung, Son Heung-min, Park Chu-young, Messi, Ronaldo, etc. Defending isn’t glamorous, it’s not taught in spades, and neither is goalkeeping. So many forwards were asked to play defense when they were 16/17 and went. It’s not a glamorous position, the grassroots doesn’t promote it.
Search “Why No Defenders” in the search bar (scroll up top right) and you’ll find a post from 2013 about your question.
I hear you. Thanks for referencing it.
That’s just sad IMO. Korea will never get better this way. You wrote this in 2013 and nothing has changed, period.
Son was brilliant against Stoke, should have had two more assists, one from a Stoke own goal and another from Kane’s miss.