Tottenham have had a good start to the season, as they have positioned themselves well after just six matches. Spurs are currently in third position and are just one of two teams that are unbeaten, alongside Manchester City. They are currently level on points with the champions, both having 14. Antonio Conte’s men trail their local rivals Arsenal by a single point.
Although it has been a promising start, there are some low level concerns about the form of Son Heung-min. The South Korean has been a consistent performer during the last few seasons, managing to establish himself as one of the best attackers in the Premier League. Last season, he managed to jointly win the golden boot, with Mohamed Salah. The pair managed to score 23 goals each.
In the last six seasons, Son has never failed to score double figures in the Premier League, with 89 goals during this period. He averages a goal every 173.9 minutes since moving to England, prior to this season. That is a remarkable record, especially considering his creativity too. The South Korea has also played alongside Harry Kane, so he has never been the primary goal threat in the Tottenham team.
After six matches, he has yet to get off the mark, while he has registered just a single assist. The season is still in its infancy, but it is worth looking as the form of Son, as we rarely see these periods of poor form from him. Since moving to North London, his consistency has stood out.
Son’s attacking numbers are not too dissimilar to previous seasons. In fact, his average of 3.13 shots per ninety minutes is higher than last season, where he averaged 2.57. No player has taken more shots than Son’s 17 without scoring a goal. For a player with his reputation for finding the back of the net, this is a surprise.
One notable takeaway is that his expected goal (xG) value per shot is 0.11. This is down from last season, where it was 0.19. This suggests that he is taking lower quality shots and may explain why he has yet to score a goal.
During his time in England, Son has been a player that has always overperformed his xG numbers. Last season, he had a total xG of 16.4, but managed to score 23. His overperformance was +6.6. The only player to have a larger outperformance was Kevin de Bruyne with +8.6.
Those that live by the numbers would suggest that Son has been overdue a finishing slump, as he has outperformed his xG in the last five seasons. This season, he has had a total xG of 1.9, without scoring a goal.
It may be too soon to suggest this though. We know Son is an excellent finisher. His proven track record over a number of years proves this. It is interesting to note that Harry Kane has a total xG of 4.4, which is 2.5 higher than Son.
Perhaps, it is as simplistic to state that Son is having less of the attacking play, with Kane once again offering the big goal threat for Spurs. Son’s decrease in xG/shot would also back this up.
This weekend, Manchester City are the opponent. For most, that would bring a sense of dread, but they have been one of Son’s favourite opponents. He has scored seven times against them. In England, he has only scored more goals against Southampton.
It is too soon to get worried about Son. He has proven himself to be a consistent performer for too long now. It was just months ago that he was holding the golden boot. There were similar concerns about Harry Kane at the beginning of last season and he still ended the campaign with double figures. It would be expected that Son manages to do the same.