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Tottenham Hotspur have had another brilliant season in the Premier League. After having finished the 2015/16 season at 3rd place, the Lilywhites bettered their result this time around, ending up as the runners-up in the English top flight.
Tottenham were in the hunt for the title almost until the end but beatings they received from West Ham United at the beginning of this month ending the Spurs title hopes. There may be disappointment over the fact that they lost out once again after coming to close to getting crowned the title champions and their struggles in Europe may be a cause for a level of concern too. However, their fans can look back at this season as one that has once again been a success and the one which has emphasized the fact that Tottenham are one of the best teams in England.
While the whole team has been performing exceptionally well, it is the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and to some extent Christian Eriksen who are portrayed as the biggest stars. No doubt that they deserve it. Kane has gone on to win his second Golden Boot award in successive seasons, Alli has managed to score 20+ goals in just his second season at the top level and Eriksen has scored and created in plenty. It wouldn’t be wrong to consider these three as the chief architects of Tottenham’s recent success.
Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs are developing into a top club who are capable of destroying any opponent on their day. Spurs youthful exuberance and the vibrancy in the squad have been key for their rise to prominence over the past two years.
However, one cannot overlook the contribution of a certain Son Heung-Min. Not always the one in the reports, the South Korean man has performed brilliantly in his second year with the Lilywhites but has gone under the radar due to the brilliance of his more illustrious teammates.
Having joined Tottenham in the summer of 2015 from German side Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee to be in the vicinity of £22million, Son did not enjoy the best of season in England. He finished his first season at White Hart Lane with just 8 goals and 5 assists from a total of 42 games across all competitions.
This season has seen him dropped out excellent performance for Tottenham, providing what an outstanding talent he really is and in the process becoming one of the most pivotal members of this Spurs side.
He finished this season with an outstanding record of 21 goals and 10 assists from 47 games – the third from Tottenham squad to score more than twenty this season, the two others being Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
Fourteen of his 21 strikes have come in the Premier League – only Kane (29) and Alli (18) have outscored the South Korean in the Tottenham squad. His tally of 14 strikes is also the third best for a midfielder in the league with Alli and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (16) the only two bettering him. Son, in his 34 league appearances, has managed to create 44 clear-cut goalscoring opportunities which is the third highest among his teammates with only Eriksen (111) and Alli (51) have created more.
The numbers clearly depict the impact that Son has had for the Premier League runners-up this season. But with Son, it is not just about the goals and the assists. The 24-year old brings so much more to the table with his versatility, his extremely intelligent movement off the ball and his exemplary work rate.
When Spurs’ top scorer Harry Kane was unavailable due to injury, there were many who said Tottenham would struggle. But, Son stepped up to take over the role of the striker and did an excellent job for the team in the Golden Boot winners’ absence.
Tottenham, for most parts of the season, played a 3-4-2-1 system, which has meant Pochettino has had to sacrifice the South Korean international on many occasions. But Son is a player who has the quality to make a lasting impact when he is on the pitch and that has been evident this season. He may not be the flashiest of the players who always makes the headlines or a prodigy like Alli, but is a classy player who always works for his team. Son is criminally underrated and is truly one of the unsung heroes for Tottenham this season.
** All Stats Taken From Squawka.com