No Kane? No problem: Heung-min Son continues fine goal-scoring form against Man City to hand Tottenham opening-weekend win
Tottenham vs Man City
The final Premier League clash of the weekend is currently being played out at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tottenham are playing host to Manchester City in what is Nuno Espirito Santo’s first league game in charge.
Spurs though, will be trying to do so without the services of Harry Kane, who has been left out of the matchday squad for fitness reasons.
Your team to face @ManCity! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/BUFdDIMny8
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 15, 2021
Man City, meanwhile, are looking to get their title defence off to a great start and have given Jack Grealish his fist competitive start for the club since his move from Aston Villa.
TEAM NEWS IS IN! 💪
XI | Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Mendy, Fernandinho (C), Gundogan, Grealish, Mahrez, Torres, Sterling.
SUBS | Steffen, Walker, Stones, Jesus, Zinchenko, Laporte, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo.
🔷 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re pic.twitter.com/8yfNFHOSVe
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 15, 2021
Man City would begin the tie on the front foot, with key chances falling to Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez in the opening exchanges.
However, despite their dominance, City were unable to find an opener, allowing Spurs to slowly grow into the game and put together a handful of counter-attacking chances.
Most, though, ended with Heung-min Son either failing to pick out a pass or wasting a chance with a poor shot.
The South Korean looked fairly lost without Harry Kane in the first 45, with the Englishman’s presence either normally creating the half-spaces for Son to run into and exploit or see him get into great positions to finish Son’s passes.
But in the end, the half-time whistle blew with the score still at 0-0 and Man City probably likely slightly frustrated they did not take the lead after such a positive start.
0 – Despite there being 14 attempts in total, Tottenham vs Manchester City is the first game of the 2021/22 Premier League season that has failed to see a single shot on target in the first half. Unexpected. pic.twitter.com/GpJ5qU83bW
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 15, 2021
Who needs Kane?
Son, though, finally found his shooting boots in the second 45 and it would be the forward who broke the deadlock in north London.
Steven Bergwijn broke on yet another counter, finding Son who this time opted to cut inside, beating Nathan Ake to smash a stunning effort past Ederson from the edge of the box:
Sensational from Son! 👏
He just loves scoring against Manchester City! ⚽
Clinical counter-attack from Tottenham, and the champions trail in North London…
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📺 Watch live on Sky Sports PL pic.twitter.com/vpZuLoJUKz
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 15, 2021
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Son has now scored seven goals against Guardiola’s Man City – only Jamie Vardy has found the net on more occasions against the Sky Blues under the Spaniard:
7 – Son Heung-Min has only scored more against Southampton (11) than he has against Manchester City (7) in all competitions for Tottenham, while only Jamie Vardy (9) has scored more goals in all competitions against Pep Guardiola’s Man City than the South Korean (7). Breakthrough pic.twitter.com/QMAyhRsegh
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 15, 2021
Son has also overtaken Manchester United legend Eric Cantona in the Premier League goalscoring charts with his strike on Sunday:
Son Heung-min has now scored more Premier League goals (71) than Eric Cantona (70).
Hall of Fame entry incoming. 😉 pic.twitter.com/N1eSlf7p6V
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2021
In response to going 1-0 down, Man City brought on Gabriel Jesus with around 20 minutes remaining. Kevin De Bruyne and Oleksandr Zinchenko were then introduced with 12 minutes of normal time remaining for Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy – the latter of which had a pretty lackluster defensive performance against the Lilywhites.
Said changes were unable to make a difference, however, and Son’s 55th-minute strike would be enough to earn a Kaneless-Tottenham a huge win over the champions.
And whilst it was not a perfect display for Spurs – especially early on – the Tottenham faithful should take some confidence from the fact they were able to beat a fairly strong Man City side without the services of Kane.
Can Heung-min Son completely replace Kane if he decides to move on? Probably not.
But no player Spurs can realistically afford would be able to. And at the moment, it seems as though Son is their best option to potentially take up the mantle of the Englishman. He is a superb finisher and a decent creator, just not quite at the same level as Kane – though very few players are in the world right now.
Why Harry Kane has not travelled with Tottenham squad to face Man City