‘200-goal European captain’ Son Heung-min a shoo-in for September player of the month… ‘contender’ Holland misses out

‘Captain’ Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, 31) will take home his fourth Player of the Month award in a row, while leading contender Elling Holland (Manchester City, 23) did not make the cut for September.

The Premier League announced the nominees for September’s Player of the Month on its official page on Friday (September 5). Son is up against Mohamed Salah, Kieran Trippier, Olly Watkins, Julian Alvarez, Jared Bowen, and Pedro Neto.

Holland, who was expected to compete for the September Player of the Month award, was nowhere to be seen. Holland is still the Premier League’s top scorer so far this season with eight goals in seven games, but he was left out of the running for September’s award.

On current form, Son Heung-min is the favorite. All of the September nominees are strong, but Son has been on a tear. In terms of goals, Salah and Alvarez have three goals apiece, while Son is second in the Premier League with six goals in seven games.

Son also scored the opening goal against Liverpool. It was his sixth Premier League goal of the season and his 200th in Europe. After sharing the goal with Roberto Firmino, Heung-min was all smiles as he received cheers and applause from the home fans.

If he wins the September Player of the Month award, he will join the ranks of legends. Son has won the award three times (September 2016, April 2017, and October 2020). Players who have won the award four times include Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, and Mohamed Salah. Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane are the all-time winners (seven times each). Cristiano Ronaldo and Steven Gerrard are next with six, followed by Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie with five.

Since joining Tottenham in 2015, Son Heung-min has been a first-team regular in all but his debut season. He became the first Asian to win the Golden Boot (top scorer) in Europe’s top five leagues, but he was not satisfied with his performance in the 2022-23 season. However, after the season, it was reported that he suffered a sports hernia. That’s why his market value dropped from 100 billion won to 70 billion won.

It’s likely that he’ll regain his market value in 2023-24. Tottenham announced their new captain ahead of the start of the 2023-24 Premier League season. “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Son Heung-min as the club’s new captain. He takes over the captain’s armband from Yoris. Maddison and Romero have been named vice-captains,” the club announced.

“We needed to create a new atmosphere in the locker room,” said coach Enzo Postecoglou. We decided that Son Heung-min should be the captain next season,” he said in a team meeting. “He’s already shown great leadership on and off the field,” he said as he handed over the captain’s armband to Son. He was the ideal choice for our team captain. He has great influence in the locker room. It’s not just popularity. He has a lot of experience as captain of Tottenham and the South Korean national team.”

“If you look back at the past, we’ve always had fantastic captains. I learned a lot from them on and off the field. Joris and Kane are Tottenham legends. They fought for the players and dedicated themselves to the team. I’ve learned so much from them and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

“It’s a great honor to captain such a big club. It’s amazing, I’m proud, it’s a new season. I will give my all for the Tottenham shirt and armband. I will do my best for Tottenham as a captain and as a player.”

After being applauded by his teammates, Son stepped forward and gave a speech as captain. “I think this season is really important. As a captain, I think we all have to take responsibility and show good behavior. It’s also important to have good training, and this space is the most important.”

“We all know it’s important to be organized. It’s a really important season, and we need to be united, with the same goals and the same steps. Let’s move forward for a very important season for us.”

During his interview with Tottenham, he even had a Korean flag draped over his chair. “It’s a huge honor. It means a lot. But it doesn’t matter who is the captain now. Of course, only one person wears the captain’s armband, but every player has to take responsibility. I also told the players. I told them that I will give my all while wearing the Tottenham shirt and the armband.”

Son added: “I will never let them down. When I was preparing for the season in pre-season, I tried to take responsibility as a veteran, having been with the club for nine years. We have a new group of young players, so I thought I should lead them. I’m really happy to be captain. The most important thing is the three points.”

Son had previously worn the captain’s armband in pre-season under Jose Mourinho. If Kane were to leave Tottenham, he would likely captain the club for an entire Premier League season this time around. If you follow the European transfer market this summer, it was looking increasingly likely that Son Heung-min would be the next “Tottenham captain” after the national team, and with Kane’s departure to Bayern Munich, that was finally confirmed. The Spurs captain ushered in a new era by leading the team to victory in front of their home fans.

Park Ji-sung is the second Korean Premier League player to wear the captain’s armband, having previously done so at Queens Park Rangers (QPR). He told the club’s official channel, “Looking back, there have always been fantastic captains. I learned so much from them on and off the pitch. Joris and Kane are Tottenham legends. They fought for the players and dedicated themselves to the team. I’ve learned so much from them and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

He has made a full recovery from sports hernia surgery and has been outstanding in the Tottenham captain’s armband. Against Burnley, Son was a one-man show. He started the 2023-24 English Premier League season at Turf Moor in Burnley, England, and partnered his teammates up front. Heung-min was active from the start of the game. On offense, he dropped down to midfield and joined the Tottenham attack. Whether it was playing one-two passes with his teammates or getting into space behind the opposition, he was constantly harassing Burnley. He pressed forward aggressively to force mistakes.

He even found the back of the net. Tottenham had conceded an early goal to Burnley and were trailing when Son Heung-min equalized in the 16th minute. He linked up with Manor Solomon and found himself in the box. He got on the end of Solomon’s cross and scored his first goal of the season with an exquisite chip shot. The goalkeeper and defender were fooled by Son’s big move. Heung-min was expecting a strong ball, but his shot sailed between the defense and the goalkeeper and found the back of the net.

A goal from captain Son Heung-min gave Tottenham momentum. The captains dominated the game. Just before halftime, vice-captain Christian Romero gave Spurs the lead with a mid-range shot. Nine minutes into the second half, James Maddison made it a two-goal game with a curling right-footed kick.

Son Heung-min practically put the game away. He scored back-to-back goals in the 18th and 21st minutes of the second half to complete his hat trick. His partnership with Solomon shone again. Solomon’s cut-back was met with a powerful right-footed strike from Son Heung-min to make it a multi-goal game. Three minutes later, he slotted home Pedro Foro’s through ball with an exquisite left foot.

With the game tied, Ange Postecoglou rested Son Heung-min. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took the field in his place. Spurs pulled one back for Burnley, but Son’s hat-trick gave them a 5-2 victory.

After the game, Postecoglou said, “We have very good players in this team. We can play the way we need to play. In particular, Son Heung-min is competitive whether he plays in the center or on the flanks. He is the ideal player for the way we play. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He’s a fantastic player. He takes responsibility and prepares every day, not just on match days. It’s really inspiring.”

He also received top ratings from soccer statistics outlets. Couch Score gave Son a 9.2 rating for his 72 minutes of action. In addition to his three goals, Son had 27 touches, an 82% pass completion rate (14 of 17), one key pass, and one cross (one attempt).

It was a day to make history in the Premier League. “It is the first time in 28 years since 1995 that three players have scored a hat-trick on the same day in the Premier League,” said global football statistics company Opta. “It was a truly dramatic moment. It is only the second time in Premier League history that three players have scored a hat-trick on the same day since 28 years ago. It’s the first time since Robbie Fowler, Alan Shearer and Tony Yeboah scored simultaneous hat-tricks in 1995.”

British publication Football London gave it a thumbs up out of 10. “He exchanged passes with Solomon and scored his first goal of the season. It was a beautiful goal. Then he got a hat-trick. It was really impressive. Coach Postecoglou’s tactical system worked fantastically.”

On April 24, the team drew 2-2 with Arsenal in the North London derby of the sixth round of the 2023-24 English Premier League at the Emirates Stadium in London, England. The tightly contested game saw the teams share a point, and Spurs have not lost since the start of the season.

Speaking to the UK’s The Times ahead of the game, Son said: “Arsenal won’t want to face us now. We play for each other, we fight for each other. If someone goes down, we give them a hand and everyone is happy. That makes us stronger as a team,” he said, sending a strong warning to his rivals.

Son has faced Arsenal 18 times since joining Tottenham in 2015. Sixteen times in the Premier League in north London derbies and twice in cup competitions. Heung-min has been quite dominant against the Gunners, scoring five goals and providing five assists. The last time was in the 2021-22 season. Heung-min scored one goal and one assist and his team won 3-0.

Arsenal gradually took control of the offense. In the 16th minute, Nketiah won the ball with a clever press and had a shot on goal that was saved by Vicario. Tottenham used Arsenal’s intense pressure as a buildup and tried to attack on the counterattack, but the Arsenal defense held them back. Tottenham attacked the Arsenal flank after beating the Arsenal defense, but Son Heung-min was a step too late and was caught offside.

Tottenham had a set-piece opportunity in the 25th minute off a free kick. Maddison played the ball into the box and Johnson took a shot, but it went wide. It was Arsenal who took the lead. In the 26th minute, on a counterattack, Xhaka drove the ball in from the flank and shot towards goal. Romero tried to clear it, but it deflected and went straight into the goal. Xhaka made an interesting provocation by performing a “darting” move that was inspired by Tottenham midfielder Maddison.

Arsenal’s attack never stopped. Xhaka drove the ball forward and broke the Tottenham defensive block, opening the way for his teammates to penetrate. Spurs were desperate to break Arsenal’s breathless attack. With the midfield struggling, Spurs tried to find space behind Arsenal with long balls from the back, but it wasn’t working. Even when they did win the ball, they were unable to take the initiative. In the 34th minute, the Udoghi-Foro combination got close to the Arsenal goal but was stopped by a tackle and had to shake his head.

As Tottenham struggled in the midfield, the ball was poorly played to Son Heung-min, who was playing up top. Heung-min tried to rattle Arsenal with forward pressure, but the Gunners built up calmly. Arsenal took another shot at the Tottenham goal in the 36th minute when Ödegaard latched onto a Xhaka pass. In the 37th minute, Johnson took a shot on goal from a Son Heung-min pass, but Arsenal goalkeeper Lallana got a hand to it to keep it out.

Both teams pressed and battled to the end. In the 41st minute, Son Heung-min rattled the Arsenal net with a chance. The ball was cleared off the line by Madsen, and Son took advantage with a sensational back-footed finish to equalize. Four minutes of first-half stoppage time didn’t dampen the flames.

Arsenal pulled out a substitution at the start of the second half. Eight minutes into the second half, Romero was called for a handball in the box. The video assistant referee (VAR) awarded a penalty kick. Xhaka stepped up to the penalty spot and restored the lead with a calm finish.

But Tottenham wouldn’t let Arsenal off the hook. This time, it was captain Son Heung-min who struck again just a minute after the goal. He calmly redirected a knife-edge pass from Maddison in the box and roared past Raya. Heung-min showed his captain’s form in the North London derby with a multi-goal performance.

Tottenham were quick to get the ball into the box to set up a combination play with Son Heung-min. The momentum was shifting in Spurs’ favor, and they were attacking near the Arsenal box with increasing frequency. In the 23rd minute, Son Heung-min fired a shot on the counterattack that hit the side netting. However, during the counterattack, Maddison’s ankle momentarily twisted and he went down in pain.

He was back on the field shortly afterward, but he was clearly uncomfortable. Arsenal pressed forward aggressively, disrupting Tottenham’s buildup at the back. Tottenham took advantage of the momentary gap in attack and defense and immediately played the ball into the Arsenal backline, where Son Heung-min was waiting to pounce. Heung-min distracted the Arsenal defense by running backwards from a corner kick.

Maddison and Son played 77 minutes before being substituted. Postecoglou brought on Joivier and Hisarlisson to shake things up. Tottenham tried to play short passes to take the pressure off Arsenal. Arsenal tried to attack, but it was late in the game and not as delicate as the first half. Arsenal had a corner in the 39th minute that sent chills down Spurs’ spines, but it didn’t translate into a goal. It was a breathless second half, but the game remained in the balance.

Arsenal pushed forward at home, but Tottenham fought back and held their own, staying focused until the end. Both teams pushed and pushed for the final goal, but no goals were scored and the game ended in a draw.

The North London derby even broke a unique record. “Son Heung-min became the first Tottenham player to score multiple goals against Arsenal in the Premier League since John Hendry in May 1993,” according to football statistics company Opta. A record that stood for 30 years until 2023 was broken at his feet.

The BBC added: “The North London derby was the biggest test for Tottenham. They struggled against the Arsenal front line but refused to give in. Spurs found another way to fill the void left by Harry Kane’s departure to Bayern Munich. Maddison creates chances, Son Heung-min finishes,” and named him MVP of the game against Arsenal with a rating of 7.7.

Later, the Premier League announced the Premier League Transfer Tavern for Round 6 of the 2023-24 season on its official website. The Premier League Transfer Team is selected by legendary striker Alan Shearer, and Son Heung-min is the clear favorite for the top spot. “His movement for the first goal (in the North London derby) was tremendous, and he was quite calm for the second goal,” Shearer said, giving him a thumbs-up.

It wasn’t just the Premier League office. The BBC also named Son Heung-min in their top 11 players of the sixth round, saying, “He was impressive. Since Harry Kane’s move to Bayern Munich, Son has shown more maturity. He scored a great goal against Arsenal” and named him to their Team of the Week.

Son Heung-min’s sweep of the Premier League Team of the Week didn’t stop there. European soccer statistics company Fúscore.com gave Son an 8.12 rating and named him to the Premier League Team of the Week for the sixth round. Johnstone lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Callum Wilson up top, Phil Foden, Guimarães, Andersson, and Gordon in the second line, and Trippier, Takowski, Van Dijk, and Byrne in the back four. Johnstone wore the goalkeeping gloves.

Son Heung-min was not 100% fit afterward. According to local media reports, there was a lot of speculation that Son would not be able to play the full game against Liverpool due to a suspected injury.

Heung-min, who scored his 200th European goal, enjoyed the victory after the game. He ran around the pitch laughing with his teammates. He even hugged Alisson, who had been outstanding throughout the game. With his sixth goal in the league this season, Son is now second on the all-time goalscoring list.

Heung-min made history as Asia’s all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing former coach Cha Bum-geun’s record of 121 goals in 372 games. This time, he is preparing to make history by reaching the 200-goal milestone. “I have a lot of work to do in the Premier League,” he said at the time of his move to Saudi Arabia.

Tottenham are also on a roll thanks to their captain, Son Heung-min. With three wins and a draw in four games, they’ve moved up to second place in the Premier League. With five wins and two draws, they are unbeaten in seven games. They’ve picked up a point in each of those games 레고토토.

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