It’s a fateful weekend.
Son Heung-min (30, Tottenham) goes on a hunt for two rabbits. It is the English Premier League (EPL) top scorer and the UEFA Champions League (UCL) ticket hunt for the first time in three seasons.
The situation is positive. Tottenham Hotspur have an away match against Norwich City (22 points), which has been relegated from the Championship (Part 2) to the bottom at 00:00 (Korean time) on the 23rd, and the final match of the 2021-2022 EPL season (Round 38). With 21 wins, 5 draws and 11 losses, Tottenham are currently in fourth place with 68 points.
‘North London rival’ Arsenal was one step ahead in the competition. With 21 wins, 3 draws and 13 losses, and Arsenal with 66 points in fifth place, Tottenham can secure fourth place just by a draw at Norwich. It was thanks to a generous lead in the difference in goals (Tottenham +24, Arsenal +9). At the same time, Arsenal will play their final home match against 16th-placed Everton (36 points), but a blood battle is inevitable as their opponents have not yet confirmed their remaining in the EPL.
4th place in the EPL is a very special place. This is the Maginot line where UCL qualification is granted. This is why, in the second half of the season, a lot of attention is focused on not only winning and relegating, but also competing in the semifinals. Fortunately, Tottenham have erased most of the ‘cases’ and have a golden opportunity to shape their own destiny.
UCL, where only the best clubs in Europe are invited, is a dream stage that guarantees ‘wealth and honor’. 15.25 million euros (about 20.4 billion won) per team can be secured just by participating in the group stage (the round of 32), and allowances for winning the group stage (2.7 million euros, about 3.6 billion won) and a draw (900,000 euros, about 1.2 billion won) this is separate Round of 16 (9.5 million euros, about 12.7 billion won) – quarterfinals (10.5 million euros, about 14 billion won) – 4th (12 million euros, about 16 billion won) – runner-up (15 million euros, about 20 billion won) ~ Prize money will be given according to the winner (19 million euros, about 25.4 billion won). If you add a huge amount of TV broadcasting rights to this, you sit on a cushion of money.
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte (Italy), who took over during the season, has consistently emphasized the UCL appearance. He continued to say, “Advancing to the UCL is a realistic win for us” and “Advancing from the EPL to the UCL is the same achievement as winning other leagues (in Europe).”
It is Son Heung-min who will make Conte’s ambition come true. Having scored 21 goals (7 assists) up to the 37th round, he competes with Egypt’s striker Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), who scored 22 goals, for the top scorer. It is an advantageous position or position of the pursuer. While Salah has been silent since the match against Manchester United on the 20th of last month, Heung-Min Son has scored four goals in the last four matches. In addition, Salah injured his knee in the match against Aston Villa (11th) and skipped Southampton on the 18th.
There are variables. Second-placed Liverpool (89 points) are competing with first-placed Manchester City (90 points) for the title. The direction of the championship may change depending on the result of the final match. Liverpool are also preparing for the UCL final against Real Madrid (Spain) to be held in Paris, France on the 29th. There is a possibility that Salah will be given some playing time in the final match on the 23rd.
Nevertheless, if Son Heung-min becomes the first in Asia to become the top scorer in Europe’s big leagues, he will be close to receiving the ‘EPL Player of the Year Award’, and his ransom may skyrocket. Heung-Min Son’s will is “I will pour out everything until the last whistle.”
Reporter Nam Jang-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org View more articles by reporter