Usually picking Tottenham’s best player is a relatively quick decision. Sure, there may be one or two players that did very well over the course of the season, but the cream always rises to the top, and we’ve never debated a long time during my tenure at this website over who should get the award.
Our initial choice was Giovani Lo Celso — a player who started off slow and suffered through an early injury, making Spurs fans wonder whether he’d ever get off the ground in North London. Over the course of the season Lo Celso went from disappointment to one of the key players in the team — a creative maestro with a nasty streak who ably filled the Christian Eriksen-shaped hole in the midfield.
And then we started looking at the numbers, and we changed our mind. It has to be Son Heung-Min.
It’s really damn hard to get past 18 goals and 12 assists in all competitions. Son was in many ways the guy BEHIND the guy again this year — he often ends up in Harry Kane’s shadow when it comes to goals and never had the creative spark of Christian Eriksen. But when Kane went down with another injury on New Year’s Day, Sonny stepped right into the space left behind, scoring four goals in five matches in January and February before he fractured his arm and the world shut down.
It wasn’t a perfect season by any stretch. Spurs might have been hurt more by Sonny’s injury if not for the “good fortune” of the pandemic-related pause. He started off the season suspended for two matches that carried over from his “red mist” moment against Jefferson Lerma and Bournemouth last season, and was sent off again in November for kicking out at Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger. He was the catalyst for the horrific injury to Everton’s Andre Gomes earlier in the season (which earned him another red that was later rescinded), and despite his goal scoring statistics had a tendency to disappear for whole matches at a time.
And yet, he scored his highest goals-plus-assists total of his entire Spurs career. His xG and xA were both increased from last season, and was especially good in the Champions League with 5 goals and 2 assists before Spurs bowed out to RB Leipzig. His non-penalty adjusted xG+xA/g of 0.68 was the second highest on the team (hilariously behind only Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, who played a whole three minutes this season).
He also did this, and if it doesn’t win the Puskas award means there is no justice.
There were other worthy candidates — the aforementioned Lo Celso made himself one of the indispensable team players by the final whistle. Hugo Lloris overcame a horrific injury of his own to quietly have one of his best seasons. Serge Aurier — yes, that Serge Aurier — played mostly derp-free and generated a good deal of Tottenham’s momentum and offense down the right flank.
But we can’t overlook Son Heung-Min. There’s a reason why he swept every supporter’s club end-of-season award this year, and try as we might be contrary to conventional thinking at times, he’s been Tottenham’s best player in this stupid, weird, unprecedented, disappointing 2019-20 campaign.
Community Player of the Season
You voted, and yeah, it was’t even close. Out of the nearly 1500 votes cast, 812 of them were cast for Son Heung-Min, far and away more than anyone else in the poll. As Jasper Beardsley said on The Simpsons, That’s a paddlin’.
There were a few write-in candidates as well — 7 votes for Tanugy Ndombele. Six votes for COVID-19. One vote for “Juan Vertonghan,” which put him in a tie for last with “Alan Hutton,” “Bacon Sandwich,” and “Fitzie for being the last Winks stan.”
But in the end, it’s a happy confluence of masthead and commentariat, along with, seemingly, the rest of the Spurs fanbase. Sonny’s the man. Long may he reign.