먹튀검증Starts at wing-forward against Singapore Ryan City on Saturday, plays 45 minutes
Spurs new signing ‘clicks’ with Udoji Maddison, spearheading new manager’s attacking style of play
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min made his first appearance of the 2023-24 pre-season on Saturday, playing 45 minutes in a friendly against Singapore’s Ryan City and showing promise for the new season./Singapore= AP.News
The first game showed promise. As expected, the new coach utilized the attacking prowess of Son “Supersonic” Heung-min (31, Tottenham) extensively, while the new signings and combinations showed promise of synergy.
Tottenham striker Son Heung-min started as a left wing-forward in a 4-3-3 formation in the 2023-24 pre-season friendly against Leicester City at the Singapore National Stadium at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, hinting at what to expect in the new season with a variety of attacks in the first 45 minutes. After missing Tottenham’s first preseason game on Aug. 18 in Perth, Australia, due to a lack of training, Son has gotten off to a strong start under Anze Postecoglou ahead of the new season.
Son Heung-min (right) makes his first appearance under Postecoglou./Singapore=AP.News
Postecoglou, a former Australian national team coach who is familiar with Korean football, made a number of changes in the second match of the preseason to check the performance of the players in both the first and second halves, and raised expectations by playing a variety of attacking-oriented tactics. In particular, Son Heung-min, whose characteristics and strengths and weaknesses have been well understood since the Asian tournament, showed a tactical operation that can maximize his talent, raising expectations for his performance this season.
Tottenham conceded an early goal against relative underdogs Ryan City, exposing their defensive issues, but their attack was on fire, scoring four goals, including a second-half hat-trick from Heung-min, in a 5-1 victory.
After clashing with attacking wing-back Ivan Perisic under Antonio Conte, Son was given a freer hand under Postecoglou, and he showed signs of the goalscoring prowess that made him the club’s top scorer in 2021-22. Having been limited in his attacking output by playing as a defensive backup when Perisic overlapped, Son was expected to create more scoring chances for his teammates while also creating space for himself with his partial tactics as a wing-forward to shake up opposing defenses.
Tottenham’s new manager Postecoglou (right) and Harry Kane in pre-season training./Tottenham website
Postecoglou used a 4-3-3 formation with Son Heung-min, Harry Kane, and Dejan Kuluczewski in an attacking trio. James Maddison, Yves Bissouma, and Pape Malang Sarri formed the midfield, while Destiny Udoji, Ben Davies, Christian Romero, and Pedro Foro formed the back four, with Guglielmo Vicario in goal.
Son linked up for the first time with left-back Udoji, who arrived in a Tottenham shirt in the summer transfer window. Unlike Ivan Perisic, Udoji looked good early on. In the third minute of the first half, Son and Udozie-Medson-Kane partial formation looked threatening enough. Son Heung-min passed to Udoji, Udoji crossed to Maddison, and Kane volleyed home Maddison’s pass to rattle the Ryan City defense. Although Kane’s shot went wide of the target, it was an indication of Tottenham’s attacking prowess this season.
Midfielder Maddison and wing-back Udoji were able to provide enough energy to complement Son’s efforts and energize Tottenham’s attack. Maddison, along with second-half substitute Lo Celso, looked to fill the void of a lack of playmakers, which has been a weakness for Tottenham, while Udoji, unlike Perisic, proved to be a good complement to Son.
However, Tottenham’s defense looked shaky, conceding back-to-back early goals against West Ham. Spurs conceded a goal on the counter-attack after taking control of the game. In the 14th minute, Ryan City’s cross found Shawal Anouar and the defense was quickly breached, with goalkeeper Vicario unable to save the opening goal. Tottenham also went down two goals in the first half against West Ham before fighting back to tie the game 2-2 in the second half, but ultimately conceded one more goal to lose 2-3.
Alexandre Lacazette (left) celebrates his hat-trick against Leicester City on Oct. 26./Tottenham website
With center back Eric Dier out of form, Spurs have been experimenting with a combination of Ben Davies, Christian Romero, and Japhet Tanganga, but they have yet to find a steady hand. Furthermore, the departure of Hugo Lloris, who has been a stalwart in goal for Tottenham, has highlighted the urgency of the defense.
Son rattled the net in the 26th minute when he headed home a Kane cross from a free kick, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Although it didn’t result in a goal, it was a sign of things to come for the South Korean in the new season.
After Harry Kane’s penalty tied the game at 1-1, Tottenham made a major substitution in the second half. They made 11 changes to their starting eleven. They brought on Heath Ledley, Ivan Perisic, Giovani Lo Celso, Manor Solomon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp, Sergio Reguilon, Eric Dier, Japhet Tanganga, Emerson Royal, and Brandon Austin.
Tottenham opened the scoring in the third minute of the second half when Lo Celso’s shot bounced off two opposing defenders and was finished off by the onrushing Hischalisson. He completed his hat-trick seven minutes into the second half to put the game out of the tunnel.
In his post-match interview, Postecoglu said, “We knew we weren’t going to be very sharp and it looked that way, especially in front of goal. But in general I thought we played decent football today and our attitude was great until the end. There are things that Tottenham have been working on in terms of structure and you could see that the players are working really hard to implement them.”
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