Antonio Conte will be looking to see his side bounce back from Sunday’s comprehensive north London derby defeat to Arsenal, whilst the same goes for Pep Guardiola and his men, having also lost in their recent clash with arch-rivals United.
It’ll be no easy feat with pressure and uncertainty starting to mount over the future of the Italian head coach, though he could do himself some favours by axing his underperforming stars.
One of which should be Heung-min Son, who has been woefully out-of-sorts for the majority of the campaign and against the Gunners, with whom he usually has a good record, his influence waned once more.
Indeed, the South Korean dynamo has scored just one Premier League goal this season, besides a hat-trick versus Leicester City, with both of his assists also coming before mid-October. It means he has provided only a solitary goal contribution across his last eight top-flight outings, per Transfermarkt.
He has misfired in some of the biggest games of the season too, notably in both fixtures against the Gunners, as well as Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham United, which makes his prospects of hurting the defending champions a lot bleaker.
It was only last season that Son emerged as one of the most prolific and exciting forwards on the planet, taking a share of the Premier League Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah.
Fast forward to now and his goals-per-shot ratio (0.08) is the lowest since his move from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015. In fact, it’s been double that in all but one campaign and it’s not because of a lack of service as he’s averaging the most shots on target per 90 in the same time frame, via FBref.
His own creative influence has regressed from last season as well, seeing a lower average of progressive passes, key passes and shot-creating actions per 90 in the English top-flight.
All of the above is clearly contributing to Spurs’ lacklustre time in the final third, so with Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison back fit from injury, and Bryan Gil catching the eye in his last few appearances, it would make sense for Conte to make the bold and arguably brutal decision to drop Son from the starting XI.
The £36m-rated whiz was once dubbed an “absolute beast” by rapper and renowned Lilywhites supporter AJ Tracey but he is some way off that level right now, given the evidence above. If Conte keeps the faith in him, then he’ll only be contributing towards his own immediate downfall at Tottenham.