The transformation of Son Heung-min continues.
Tottenham Hotspur defeated AFC Bournemouth 2-0 in the third round of the 2023-24 English Premier League (EPL) at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, England, on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. With their second straight league win, Tottenham moved to the top of the table with two wins and a draw (7 points). Bournemouth, meanwhile, remains in 15th place in the league with one win, two draws, and one loss.
Tottenham deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation. He was up front, with Heung-min Son, Maddison, and Dejan Kuluczewski supporting the attack from the second line. Yves Bissouma and Pape Saar started in a three-man midfield, while the back four consisted of Destiny Udoji, Micky van der Penn, Christian Romero, and Pedro Pogba. Guglielmo Vicario was in goal.
Son Heung-min wore the captain’s armband for the match. Son received the captain’s armband ahead of the 2023-24 season. “Son Heung-min has been appointed captain of Tottenham Hotspur,” the club announced on its website. He takes over the armband from Hugo Lloris, who first captained the club in 2014-15. James Maddison and Christian Romero have been named vice-captains,” the club announced.
Prior to the official announcement, Postecoglou personally called Son Heung-min to the front of the squad during a team meeting and named him captain. According to Football London, “Postecoglou gave no prior notice and Son suddenly stood in front of his teammates after being told that the captaincy would be announced before the game. Heung-min emphasized the need to maintain discipline, train hard and work together for the upcoming season.”
Postecoglu added: “Sonny (Son Heung-min) has great leadership qualities on and off the field and is the ideal choice as our new captain. We all know him as a world-class player and he has tremendous respect from everyone in the dressing room. He transcends the group. It’s not just about popularity. It’s what he achieves on the pitch.”
The captain’s armband has highlighted Son’s leadership. Heung-min has become a more selfless player on the pitch than in the past. Rather than taking matters into his own hands, Heung-min often looked to utilize his teammates and pass to players in better positions. In fact, he made four key passes on the day.
According to soccer stats site OPTA, Heung-min completed the most passes in the Final Four between Man United and Tottenham. He was the most involved in the offense, but he also utilized his teammates when he found himself in difficult situations to finish.
His play showed that he prioritized the team’s victory over his own stats. In fact, after the game, Son said, “I’m really happy. We are playing really well. When we talked about the second half, the energy of the players was fantastic,” and he applauded his teammates.
Against Bournemouth, Son also played for the team. On this occasion, Tottenham took the initiative by playing an organized game. The Spurs attacked with Son and Maddison in the center of the field, trying to get at Bournemouth’s goal. Son, who played left wing-forward again, made selfless plays to help his team win the game.
Even when he was in a position to shoot directly, he looked out for his teammates in better positions. In the 15th minute, a pass from Neto was intercepted by Madison with his foot. Heung-min picked it up and immediately slotted in a killer pass. It was a chance that came from the so-called “Son Heung-min zone,” so he could have tried to curl it in, but instead, he passed it to a better positioned Madison.
Heung-min celebrated his teammate’s goal as much as he celebrated his own. In the 17th minute, while playing the ball in the midfield, Sarr’s killer pass was met by a rushing Madison, who took a slight touch on the ball to open the scoring. Son Heung-min was caught on camera smiling as he and Madison performed a ‘darting’ ceremony.
He continued to utilize his teammates. In the 22nd minute, a killer pass from Madison was pounced on by Son Heung-min. The cutback was then collected by Saar, but his shot was not strong enough and was saved by the keeper. The captain did his job. Son showed his concern when Saar went down in the 29th minute, personally checking on him.
He wasn’t always passing to his teammates. When he had a chance to shoot himself, he took it. In the 26th minute of the first half, a ball from Madison on a corner kick was deflected back by the defense. Heung-min collected it and fired a powerful left-footed shot that went just wide of the goal.
He was also deployed up front in place of Hischalisson. In the 14th minute of the second half, Tottenham brought on Perisic and Hojbjerg for Sarr and Lacazette, which allowed Son to move up front. As soon as he moved up, Heung-min started to play a key role, creating chances for his teammates. 온라인바카라
In the end, it was Son Heung-min who opened the scoring. In the 18th minute of the second half, Udoji played a one-two with Son Heung-min, and the resulting cutback was met by Kulusebski, who raced onto the ball and rattled the net. Son Heung-min’s passing sense was outstanding, and Udoji’s tenacity made the goal possible.
With the score at 2-0, Bournemouth pushed forward, and Tottenham dropped their line and played more on the counterattack. Son played a huge role in this. He came down from the front line to the midfield, won the ball, and slipped a pass into the path of Ivan Perisic and Robert Lewandowski on the flanks.
The finishing was lacking from the receivers of Son’s passes. In second-half stoppage time, Son won the ball inside the penalty box, won a battle with the defense and cut the ball back. Davis took a shot on goal, but it sailed wide. A minute later, a counterattack that started with Son Heung-min was finished by Perisic, but it didn’t lead to a goal.
In 90 minutes of full-time play, Son had 54 touches of the ball, an 85% pass completion rate, 4 key passes, 1 chance created, 3 dribble attempts (2 successful), 6 ground battles (4 successful), 1 clearance, and 1 interception. Soccer stats outlet CouchScore gave him an 8 rating, tying him with Madsen for the highest rating, while Hoopscored.com gave him a 7.3 rating, tying him for the lowest rating after Hichalisson.
“Son caused Bournemouth some problems in the first half and set up Udoji for the second goal,” said Football London, while the UK’s Evening Standard gave him a 7. “Still not back to his best, he had a few nice touches and was involved in Spurs’ better attacks,” said the UK’s Evening Standard.
Even though he didn’t record an attacking point, Heung-min Son shone. According to soccer statistics outlet Opta, “Heung-min was the most involved in open play shooting chances. He had 2 shots, 4 chances, and 3 build-ups,” indicating that he played an important role in the offense.
After the match, Son Heung-min posted on his personal social media, “I feel great! Fun game, good performance, and the away support was amazing. I hope you all have a great weekend!” and expressed his excitement.
Heung-min played two roles in this game. It’s not awkward. Heung-min is no stranger to playing up front, as a wide winger, and even as a wing-back. In particular, during Harry Kane’s time, Son was often called upon to play up front when Kane was out injured.
He has the potential to start up front if needed. He’s the only player in Tottenham’s current squad who can play up front. Postecoglou said after the game, “We will make changes (against Fulham). We will make some changes, but we want to win the game and hopefully we can maintain the intensity, tempo and quality of the game even if we make changes.”
Postecoglou added: “It’s a very positive result and I think our performance overall was really encouraging, especially in the first half. We knew Bournemouth were going to be very aggressive, it’s their home. We had to be prepared for that. We stayed sharp and were brave when we needed to be. At the beginning of the second half we lost control of the game, but then we scored the second goal and we were able to control the rest of the game.”