Tottenham kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive in emphatic fashion on Thursday evening with a 3-0 win over Arsenal in the final North London derby of the season. Without the exploits of prolific forward Son Heung-min, though, Antonio Conte’s men would almost certainly have been out of top four contention long ago.
Prior to the crucial derby clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the stats gurus at Sky Sports produced a graphic showing just how valuable Son has been to the Spurs cause in the Premier League this season.
Highlighting seven key metrics for attacking players, Opta analysis showed Son leading the way in no less than four of the seven areas. The 29-year-old South Korean also ranked second in the other three categories.
You can check out the pre-match below, but it didn’t take Son long to add to his impressive numbers with a strong showing against Arsenal.
Graphic shows how elite Son Heung-min has been in the Premier League this season
With Spurs already enjoying a 2-0 lead after a dominant first-half showing, Son helped himself to his 21st Premier League goal of the season to give Tottenham a three-goal advantage straight after the interval.
That strike puts him just one goal behind Liverpool’s Mo Salah in the race for the competition’s Golden Boot.
Son was visibly disappointed when he was withdrawn by Conte was 18 minutes remaining. The job was done from a Tottenham standpoint, but the player himself clearly believed he could have had more goals against an Arsenal side reduced to 10-men when Rob Holding was sent off for two bookable offences after barely half an hour.
Most non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season
As strike partner Harry Kane is the designated Spurs penalty-taker, none of Son’s Premier League tally this term has come from the spot, making him the leading scorer of non-penalty goals in the English top-flight.
In fact, only Kane himself has ever scored more non-penalty goals for Tottenham in a Premier League season.
Most goals and assists vs opponents in the top four
Son has also developed a knack for providing goal contributions in his side’s very biggest games this season. His goal against Arsenal was his seventh goal or assist in matches against opponents in the top four during 2021/22, meaning he’s now the undisputed boss of that statistic, too.
Most goals with his ‘wrong foot’
Now, there’s always been heavy debate over which is Son’s weaker foot. In reality, he’s one of the finest two-footed players to ever grace a pitch. However, as he takes penalties with his right peg, he’s ranked as a right-footed player for statistical purposes.
Having scored 12 goals with his ‘weaker’ left foot this term, Son rates as the competition’s most prolific marksman with his wrong foot.
Highest shot conversion % in the Premier League
Son led the way in terms of shot conversion in the Premier League before the win over Arsenal, with 26.7% of his attempts on goal finding the net.
That figure has increased to 27.2% following the match, as, per Opta, Son scored with one of his two shots on goal on Thursday night – leaving him with a 50% ratio for the evening.
It’s another podium finish for Son when it comes to actual performance v expected goals. The Spurs hitman had massively outperformed his expected statistical goal return prior to the Arsenal match, scoring 6.9 times more than expected.
That’s a fantastic ratio, but Son still loses out in the category to Manchester City dynamo Kevin DeBruyne.
Spurs currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League, still a point away from Arsenal and a top four finish that would guarantee Champions League football in the white half of north London next season.
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Without Son’s exploits, you genuinely have to wonder whether a Europa League spot would be within Tottenham’s grasp at this point.
A truly magnificent individual effort!
Spurs 3-0 Arsenal (Reaction via The Football Terrace)