I’ve never seen this before. Son Heung-min was furious with Brian Hill for his poor pass timing. Hill was a disappointment throughout the first half, making mistakes and eventually being subbed out at the start of the second half. The reason was clear. Hill’s passes weren’t connecting with the next pass.
Tottenham Hotspur drew 3-3 with Manchester City in the 14th round of the 2023-24 Premier League (PL) at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, at 1:30 a.m. ET on April 4. The draw snapped a three-game losing streak for Tottenham.
Postecoglou, who vowed not to back down against City, came out with an attacking lineup. Playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, Tottenham started captain Son Heung-min alongside Hill, Johnson, Kuluczewski, Lo Celso, Bissouma, Udogie, Davies, Emerson, Foro and Vicario. Dyer was left out due to injury. The hosts also went all out with Holland, Alvarez, Dockoo, Foden, Silva, Rodri, Gvardiol, Dias, Akanji, Walker, and Emerson in the starting lineup.
Tottenham scored an early goal to take the lead. Son Heung-min was the man to do it. In the sixth minute, Kulusebski played a long ball into the box on the counter-attack, and Son beat Doku to the ball. Heung-min then rattled the net with a sharp shot, but it was an unfortunate own goal. In the ninth minute of the first half, a ball from Alvarez on a free kick went through Holland, hit Son Heung-min’s body, and went into the goal.
Despite City’s overall dominance, Tottenham were not without their chances, most notably in the 27th minute when Hill intercepted a City mistake and played a pass to Son, but the timing was off and the chance was not created. Afterward, Son expressed his anger at Hill, pointing out the timing of the pass, and they spoke.
Eventually, Postecoglou took Hill off to start the second half and brought on Hojbjerg. The second half was more of the same for Son. In the 24th minute of the second half, with the score at 1-2, City made a mistake in the buildup and Son played a pass to Lo Celso, who found the back of the net with a sharp left-footed shot. City pulled a goal back, but Kulusebski scored a dramatic equalizer in stoppage time to end the game 3-3.
It was unusual to see Heung-min shouting at his teammate, but it was understandable, and Hill had a disappointing first half.
In particular, Postecoglou spoke about Son’s offside ahead of the Man City game, saying, “There were a few times when his timing was perfect, he’s a different type of striker than Harry Kane, he has to have a little bit of a different focus. As I said, his timing was perfect, even if we had only passed it a thousandth of a second before. Still, Son is finishing in an offside position, and he’s still scoring goals. That’s the most difficult part of the game. His value is still there. It’s just about his runs, we need to find him a little bit earlier,” he said, emphasizing the need for quick passes to Son, which Hill did with some of his worst passing.
Looking at the passing map, it was easy to understand.
According to the ‘passing network’ of Man City and Tottenham released by soccer statistician Mark Stats, the difference between the two teams was stark. While City’s ‘passing map’ shows that passes are well connected from the back to the front, Tottenham’s is different. Especially on the left side, there are many scenes where Wichuan Hill receives the ball, but the subsequent pass is not connected, and Son Heung-min is isolated.