On Sunday Tottenham Hotspur reaffirmed the New North London Order with a 2-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League, a clinical victory that saw their two main forwards score with just one shot on target each.
The result owed so much to Son Heung-min, their high-flying wide attacker who is currently enjoying the form of his life. The Korean scored the goal of the week, a marvellous finish from around 25 yards out, to put the Lilywhites in the lead, before setting up Harry Kane for the clincher.
It was yet another virtuoso performance from Son, the perfect pace and power player for a Jose Mourinho team who has shown a more clinical edge this campaign. The clubs top scorer with 10 goals from just 16 shots, he’s converting at the insanely high rate of 63%. When the game plan dictates you only get one or two chances per game, if even, then you need to put them away.
Luckily for Spurs they have two strikers who know how to find the net when the opportunity presents, but listening to some of the comments about the side you would swear this was still a one man show.
On Sky Sports commentary Jamie Redknapp described Son as “the perfect support act”, treating him as if he is some sort of sidekick latching onto the real hero of the tale. It reflected a general viewpoint that, while Son is highly regarded, he’s not thought of in the same capacity as the top attacking players of his generation.
Over the past number of years Son might have been categorised as being ‘just below’ that top level. A bloody good footballer, but not quite Mo Salah or Sadio Mané or Raheem Sterling or, indeed, Harry Kane.
In a way that’s understandable, as he hasn’t provided the same level of end product on a consistent basis in the past, but his mere proximity to Kane is also part of the perception problem. The best number nine England has produced since Alan Shearer, it’s only natural that such a media darling would attract so much attention.
But this is no Batman and Robin act. This is more like two headline superheroes banding together to become one unstoppable force. Or perhaps a team-up of supervillains would be more apt, wreaking havoc and destruction upon unsuspecting defenders up and down the league with their supernatural abilities.
Whichever way you look at it, Son should be put on the same pedestal, not the rung just below. After all, this Spurs side is evidently playing to his strengths, not Kane’s. It’s the Englishman who has had to alter his game for the good of the team, dropping deeper to create space in behind for Son to exploit defences with his speed and agility.
On top of that, it’s Kane who has been supplying him, not the other way around. Of his 10 assists this season, eight have been for Son. While Kane has eight goals of his own in a brilliant start to the campaign, he doesn’t have the same mobility he had before all of the ankle injuries.
In that sense Kane needs Son; he wouldn’t be doing nearly so well without him. And perhaps the same could be said for Son, who has benefitted massively from Kane’s new role. But to suggest they aren’t, at the very least, on an equal footing is laughable. This is a front two for the ages.