Three Ways Son Can Further Improve His Game for Tottenham

Jul 28, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Son Heung-Min has gotten off to a terrific start to the season from a production perspective, as he has 10 goals and 5 assists in all competitions already for Tottenham.

Son Heung-Min has been quite clinical to start the season, scoring goals almost for fun. Not including Europa League qualifying, Son has nine goals on just 22 shots, for an incredible .41% conversion rate. However, his shots per game are down and getting the South Korean ace more shots is just one way to further improve his already stunning game.

More Aggression from Tottenham Terror

Ultimately, if you look at the areas where Heung-Min Son can improve – and there are not many – it comes down to his aggression with the ball and where he is getting it. With the clinical nature of his play thus far in the season, the idea of getting Son more shots makes perfect sense, however, to do that we need a few other things to come together as well.

Touches in the Box

Tottenham are doing a good job of getting Son the ball in the middle and attacking third of the pitch. In fact, the number of touches Son is on pace to have in the attacking third is 10% greater than last season. However, those touches in the attacking third are not translating into more touches in the box. Whereas his touches in the attacking third are up, the number of touches Son has had in the penalty box are down.

Son has had only 33 touches in the penalty box all season and with 10 goals, you can start to see why we want him to have more touches in the area. Some of this comes down to the fact that Son is mishandling a larger percentage of passes this season than last season, averaging 2 uncontrolled balls per match, according to If Son were holding just one or two passes per match, his opportunities might go up.

Dribblers Delight

Last season Son scored the Premier League goal of the year, with a mazy dribble down the entire length of the pitch. This season, Son has only completed 8 dribbles in all competitions total. The star had nearly that many in his wondergoal against Burnley last season. Right now, Son is on pace to only have 27 successful dribbles in the Premier League this season after having 67 last year.

The lack of dribbles is in no way a reflection that Son has potentially lost a step, in fact he as been successful on 7 of 8 dribbles attempted in the Premier League this season, but the fact is he has only attempted the 8, which is astonishing low. This means Son is on pace to only attempt 31 dribbles, after attempting 116 dribbles last season.

Some of this must be related to the game plan, as one would think a player with Son’s ability would not just stop taking on players on his own, but that cannot be the only reason, he is not attacking players with the ball with the same gusto as previous seasons. With a few more dribbles and a few more touches in the box, Son is likely to have a few more shots.

Surge in Shots

At his current rate Heung-Min Son is likely to have his fewest shot attempts in the Premier League since 2016-17 before he was a full-time starter for Tottenham. However, at the same time, Son is on pace to have more shots on target in the league than at any time in his career. Now maybe the increase in precision is due to taking fewer shots, but we at HotspurHQ believe it is just Son being more clinical.

If indeed the South Korean has simply improved his accuracy – he would not be the first under Jose Mourinho – then it is incumbent on Tottenham to get Son more shots. This is partially on Son and making sure that he controls the ball when the opportunity arises and takes on some more people to create even more opportunities. That said, with the goal scoring pace Son has set, Spurs really need to get the man more attempts per match.

All this said, we think Sonny is great and is having a terrific season, and has already won one Premier League player of the month awards. However, some things we have seen in terms of aggression in previous seasons just has not been as ever present from the South Korean. With the overall scoring and assisting tear Son has been on, if Spurs can get his dribbles, touches in the box, and shots up to his historic levels, we could see an historic goal tally.