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In Focus: Spurs need Son to shine against Milan
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Mitchell Fretton

Tottenham's stuttering form in front of goal is jeopardising their chances of success this term.

Failure to net in any of their last three away outings, at AC Milan, Sheffield United and Wolves has resulted in a notable change in mood for the North Londoners.

A lack of fluidity in attack has been most stark for South Korean forward Heung-Min Son, who has scored only twice in his last 17 league outings.

As Spurs seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit in tonight's Champions League last-16 second leg against Milan, we turn the spotlight on their No7.

Rocky road

A stunning 2021-22 campaign saw Son share the Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

But the livewire forward has failed to bring that consistency with him into this season.

In his 21 Premier League starts, the 30-year-old has scored only once from 51 shots, a paltry 2% conversion rate.

As a result, his playing time under Antonio Conte has been much reduced.

Benched against West Ham and Chelsea, the 108-cap international was reinstated to the starting XI for the trip to Molineux, only to misfire once again.

Son is facing his toughest period in a Spurs shirt, but tonight's encounter with the Italian champions offers a chance for a reset.

Heung-Min Son has not hit his previous heights for Tottenham this season
Heung-Min Son has not hit his previous heights for Tottenham this season

Milan motivation

Son is certainly fired up by the prospect of helping Spurs to victory over the Rossoneri.

Ahead of the clash, he told reporters: "We have to bounce back.

"We have the most important game of the season.

"The players are looking forward to it, under the lights in our stadium and we have to give everything to make the fans proud and the club proud and to make us proud.

"Words are not enough — we have to prepare and have a clear plan.

"If we turn it around it could change the season and give us a little confidence and boost."

Heung-Min Son has scored only five times in the Premier League this season
Heung-Min Son has scored only five times in the Premier League this season

Perisic problem

Son showed a glimpse of his old self in the win over West Ham last month, latching on to a through ball from Harry Kane before slotting past Hammers stopper Lukasz Fabianski with ease.

But in the shock FA Cup exit at Sheffield United and the dismal defeat at Wolves, the former Bayer Leverkusen attacker fell short of expectations once again.

Despite averaging 2.71 shots per 90 minutes this season, the speedy winger has seen a decline in his shooting accuracy, big chances scored and big chances created.

The arrival of Ivan Perisic as a left wing-back has not helped Son, who is often having to occupy a more central role as the Croatian thrives high up the pitch when overlapping.

Despite the addition of a seasoned veteran, Perisic's strengths hinder the Hamburg academy graduate's ability to run at the defence — his 0.82 completed take-ons per match is significantly less than the 1.52 he was averaging last season.

Heung-Min Son last scored in the win over West Ham
Heung-Min Son last scored in the win over West Ham

Time for change

With Son recording fewer touches, shots and take-ons in matches, there is certainly room for improvement and the Asian superstar is running out of time to rescue what is turning out to be a disappointing season in the capital. 

But against tonight's opponents from Serie A, Son and Spurs' forward line have the chance to strike back.

Yet they will face a stern task against Stefano Pioli's well-drilled defence who have kept clean sheets in four of their last five outings.

With their top-four place hanging in the balance and FA Cup and Carabao Cup hopes having already bit the dust, the meeting with Milan could be a defining encounter in Tottenham's season.

Son has the undoubted quality to make the difference, with a place in the last eight at stake.


Tottenham HotspurChampions LeaguePremier LeagueHeung-Min Son
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