In my previous blog, I made reference to a rather dreary Simon and Garfunkel song, in order to illustrate the general mood amongst Spurs fans after yet another Seoul-destroying semi-final defeat to our arch-rivals and poster boys for the Third Reich, Chelsea Football Club. But in the ensuing nausea and panic, as I desperately tried to convince my wife that a murder/suicide pact was really the only viable option available to us in the circumstances, it would appear that I completely overlooked one very important variable. That variable, of course, was everyone’s favourite little smiling assassin, Heung-min Son. At the time of writing that blog, Son was away on international duty and wasn’t expected to be returning anytime soon. However, for once the fates managed to conspire in our favour and like a proverbial knight in shining armour, Sonny rode to our rescue and restored my faith in humanity…..or at the very least, my faith in Chelsea’s categoric lack of humanity. Because somehow, his premature return to action appeared to have triggered something of a watershed moment for both clubs, but in alarmingly contrasting ways. Tottenham responded extremely positively by embracing Son’s early homecoming and grinding out three consecutive home wins in the league before proceeding to take a pneumatic drill to Borussia Dortmund’s so-called “yellow wall” in the last-16 of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Chelsea on the other hand, have fallen apart quicker than my home made sex doll. They started by recruiting Gonzalo Higuain, the most overweight professional footballer to ply his trade in the top flight since Neville Southall was forced to retire when he mysteriously developed his own gravitational field in the 1990’s. They then proceeded to suffer their heaviest ever defeat in 22 years of Premier League history……not once, but twice! As if that wasn’t bad enough, they somehow managed to draw with their own youth team in a friendly match….which is no mean feat, when you consider that all of their best youngsters are on loan at Vitesse Arnhem! Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up. It seems that only 6 months in to the new regime, the mere concept of “SarriBall” is starting to be exposed for what it truly is……..which appears to be a subtle mix of spunking £50m on an overrated defensive midfielder before proceeding to invest what remains of your transfer budget on one of those “evil” PR firms who normally represent big tobacco, so that they can perpetuate the “SarriBall” myth to an unsuspecting public. Yet further proof, my friends, that capitalism doesn’t work! Oh well, I am sure that they can get their season back on track when they face Malmo in the Europa League on Thursday night. And whilst we are at it, I would also like to wish Arsenal luck in Europe’s second string competition, as they look to master BATE on Valentine’s Day…..but then again, don’t we all lads? Don’t we all.
And weirdly, it was a very unlikely protagonist that set this enjoyable and unexpected chain of events in to motion. Step forward the sovereign state of Qatar. That’s right, the very same Qatar that is currently trying to run both the World Cup and OPEC in to the ground, just for shits and giggles. Out of nowhere, a country that has recently become a byword for tyranny and oppression, has finally done something positive for Western society….or the Spurs fans that live in that society, at least. Just as supporters were descending into a social media induced meltdown bought about by two London derby defeats and a lack of viable striking alternatives to Harry Kane, the footballing powerhouse that is Qatar upset the apple cart by unexpectedly eliminating South Korea from the Asian Cup, whilst cruelly dashing Sonny’s hopes of another trophy in the process. But I suppose this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone……they do have a terrible record when it comes to their abuse of Heung-min rights!!!! Thanks, I am here all week. Unlike the migrant workers that they exploit to build their World Cup stadiums….they generally don’t last more than a few days.
However, South Korea’s loss was clearly our gain, as Sonny was sent home early, arriving in the nick of time to give our season a timely shot in the arm whilst also proving beyond doubt that he is the best thing to come out of Korea since military dictatorships and those creepy waving cat figurines. Having rightly been rested for the FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace, he was unleashed upon a stubborn looking Watford team, where he was the catalyst for yet another Tottenham late show. After 80 minutes of frustration, he finally got us back on level terms before Fernando Llorente won it for us at the death, breaking Elton John’s delicate little heart in the process. And to be fair, he was probably already pretty heartbroken that we didn’t let the Son….go down on him, yyeeeaahh. I’m only kidding, thankfully Heung-min Son is renowned for an entirely different and totally unrelated set of tricks nowadays. Anyway, illicit fantasies aside, he only went and did it again, this time against a Newcastle team that successfully managed to park the bus to such a degree that it must have inadvertently given Jose Mourinho a wet dream. You know, if he wasn’t already dreaming about drowning Paul Pogba in a secluded lake or mailing letter bombs to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Despite an element of good luck in the finish, Sonny managed to get a powerful shot away from the edge of the box that crept under the opposition keeper and as a result, the relief that erupted around Wembley was almost palpable. Once again, we hadn’t played particularly well but we had ground out another vital victory, not unlike the Manchester United teams of old.
The same could also be said about our performance against Leicester City, where we were dominated for large parts of the game but still managed to come away with the victory, largely because we were clinical with the few chances that we did manage to create. After some rather hairy moments defensively, predictably it was the man of the moment, Heung-min Son who raced clear in the dying minutes to finish with aplomb and put the icing on a fairly nervy 3-1 victory. Honestly, I don’t know what is more impressive, the way that Son’s return has inexplicably galvanised our threadbare squad or the fact that after three games in a week, he still had the energy to run the length of the pitch, in injury time, to put the game to bed. The man is like an energiser bunny…..on crack! And before you ask, I am referring to the Duracell advert, not the sex toy. Somewhat surprisingly, despite Son’s seemingly superhuman contributions of late, everyone’s favourite bridge-dwelling radio troll, Adrian Durham, made the rather inflammatory comment that Heung-min Son “couldn’t even make the bench at Wolverhampton Wanderers”. And for once, I actually think that he may have a point…..I don’t think that I have seen Son undertake any sort of carpentry projects since he joined Spurs nearly four years ago. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he didn’t even own a tool box. Lazy.
And then we come to last night’s masterclass against Borussia Dortmund, a game in which we had been written off by almost all of the pundits. But what they failed to realise is that Sonny has an unbelievable record against BVB. Having spent the majority of his formative years in the Bundesliga, he has faced Dortmund on several occasions and in the 10 games that he has played against them prior to last night, he had won 6 and scored 8. A record which he duly improved upon over the subsequent 90 minutes of action. After a cagey first half in which we were lucky to go in at 0-0, it was Son’s devastatingly intelligent movement in and around the box that gave us the lead and probably underlined his burgeoning reputation as the most dangerous Korean on the planet right now. Well, OK……maybe the second most dangerous. Once again, it was this moment of magic from our little genius (and a Roberto Carlos-esque cross from Super Jan Vertonghen) that kick started the night and eventually saw us run out 3-0 winners, putting us firmly in the drivers seat for the return leg in three weeks time. Intriguingly, since the beginning of last season, Dortmund have only lost five times in the Champions League and three of those losses have been against us! Still, knowing Spurs, I am sure that we will somehow find a way to fuck it all up on the night.
But in all seriousness, despite the stop-start nature of his season so far and the seemingly bi-monthly Asian Cup competitions that he is forced to partake in, this really feels like it has been Sonny’s break out year for the club…..to the extent that he is getting dangerously close to being considered world class. I don’t think that I am exaggerating when I say that he is very much the South Korean version of Ronaldo. Except without the aerial ability or the tax problems…….I think. Asians are generally meant to be pretty good at maths, right? Regardless, if you think about it, they are both lightning quick, peerlessly two footed, proudly wear the number 7 shirt and they certainly know their way around a penalty box. Most importantly though, Son is now consistently producing match winning moments for Spurs, often in our hour of need….and if that characteristic doesn’t describe Ronaldo to a tee, then I don’t know what does.
As if to prove this point, since he returned from International duty, we have won all four of our games and he has scored in each and every one of them, often decisively. And this season alone, he has averaged a goal or an assist once every 87 minutes, which is a phenomenal return. In fact, I think I read somewhere that every time Son has scored in a Spurs shirt, we have gone on to win the game. Essentially, I suppose that this all comes back to my universally discredited theory of crisi-tunity……from the crisis of Harry Kane’s ankle injury came the opportunity for Heung-min Son to emerge from the imposing shadow of the England captain and carry the team in his absence……which he is doing to perfection. To the extent that he is now winning us games almost on his own, just like Harry Kane. Or dare I say it, Ronaldo. Case……closed. So, thanks to Sonny and his timely return from the Mickey Mouse Cup, we no longer need to dwell on the melancholy musings of Art Garfunkel and his rather peculiar relationship with both silence and darkness, because we are winning games and life is good again. We have a more appropriate song to be singing now, that perfectly captures our new found sense of optimism…..unsurprisingly, it’s a little tune that I like to call The House of the Rising Son. COYS.