On a global scale, it is hard to identify a Korean athlete more prominent than Son Heung-Min, who is currently tearing up the English Premier League with club Tottenham. Going into the October international break, Son was the league’s joint-top scorer alongside Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with the highlight of his campaign to that point being a four-goal haul against Southampton.
Much of Son’s success has been down to his partnership with Tottenham’s main striker Harry Kane. Entering the final weekend of October, the two men had combined for 28 goal involvements, by far the most of any two-player combination in the league after the first six games of the 2020/21 season.
Kane himself is the obvious favorite to lead Tottenham’s scoring charts come May, with the England striker having already won the golden boot in successive seasons (2015/16 and 2016/17), but Son is a worthy rival to him.
Previous PL Golden Boot winners
As reflected by the latest sports betting odds for worldwide leagues, the Premier League’s title race is an unusually open one at present. This suggests that Son has every chance of being the first Asian player to clinch the Premier League’s golden boot, and since Christian Eriksen’s departure for Inter Milan in January, Son has taken over attacking duties from deep with great aplomb.
As he has done already this season, Son scored in three successive league matches at the start of the year, with both patches of form boosting his all-time goal return with Tottenham to 95 goals across 72 matches as of October’s end. Just over a third of those goals (32) proved decisive in victory, giving Tottenham a win rate of 63.16% from Son’s goal-scoring matches up to the same point.
Across Son’s first 47 goal scoring Premier League matches alone, Tottenham’s win rate rockets up to 85.11%. With a near-equal distribution of left-footed and right-footed shots (24 and 27 respectively) in that league return, Son’s versatility gives him an edge, as he aims to make history and beat an extremely talented field to the Premier League golden boot.
Source: Tottenham Hotspur
September 2020: Son destroys Southampton.
Going into the final weekend of October, four players were on South Korean Athlete of 2017 Son’s tail, all of whom within two goals of matching his tally. After finding himself marked out of the game by a determined Southampton midfield on October 25, during a game in which his team lost for the first time in 2020/21, Dominic Calvert-Lewin slipped to second in the scoring charts.
Nonetheless, Calvert-Lewin is just the fourth player in the Premier League’s 28-year history to score in each of his side’s first five league fixtures. His disappointing end to October also had some mitigating circumstances, with attacking partner Richarlison serving a suspension after a red card against Liverpool. He won’t win the golden boot, but undoubtedly has it in him to hit the 20-goal mark.
Tied on six goals apiece by October 31 were Patrick Bamford, Mohammed Salah and Jamie Vardy – of Leeds, Liverpool and Leicester respectively. Vardy is the reigning golden boot holder, defying age and expectation, while Salah was a winner in 2018 and a joint-winner in 2019. Both men are very strong candidates, and with Salah still at his peak, he is a popular draw for bettors.
For his part, Bamford has been a revelation in the first quarter of the Premier League campaign, perfectly fitting the attack-minded approach undertaken by Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa. His highlight to date is a hat-trick at Aston Villa, which ensured that his tally from the opening six league games is bettered by only one other Leeds player in the Premier League era.
October 30: The Premier League goalscoring chart as it stood, along with approximate Golden Boot odds.
Tough times ahead for Tottenham
November promises an intense battle on two fronts, with Europa League games between Tottenham’s league fixtures. A home match vs Manchester City will prove to be a real test of the club’s ambitions under Jose Mourinho, although Son was a scorer in last season’s encounter – a 2-0 victory that marked a high point in an otherwise frustrating season.
A recent defeat to Antwerp also cast fresh doubt on Tottenham’s ability to triumph in the Europa League, which remains the competition Tottenham are considered likeliest to win based on current odds. With no trophy in 12 years, Tottenham need a hero, and Son’s current form suggests that he can go down in folklore as the man who ended a long, and inexplicable trophy drought.