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Son Heung-min goes for 2nd straight Golden Boot as new Premier League season kicks off

Sports 09:16 August 05, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean star Son Heung-min will begin his chase for another piece of history when the new Premier League season kicks off on the weekend.

Spurs will open the 2022-2023 campaign by hosting Southampton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London at 3 p.m. Saturday local time, or 11 p.m. Saturday in Seoul.

Last season, Son became the first Asian player to lead the Premier League in scoring, sharing the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool by scoring 23 goals.

In this AFP file photo from July 23, 2022, Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur greets fans after a preseason friendly match against Rangers at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow. (Yonhap)

Since the Premier League was founded in 1992, only five players have won consecutive Golden Boots: Alan Shearer (1995-1997), Michael Owen (1998-1999), Thierry Henry (2004-2006), Robin van Persie (2012-2013) and Son's current teammate, Harry Kane (2016-2017).

With Son leading the attack, Spurs finished in fourth place to secure a ticket to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Son looked to be in fine form during the preseason, which included two matches on his native soil last month. In four matches overall, he netted two goals and had three assists, all of them setting up goals by Kane.

The Son-Kane duo already have a record for most combined goals in Premier League history with 41. And the two will need more of the same magic if Son were to repeat as the scoring champion.

In this AFP file photo from July 30, 2022, Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur (R) takes a shot against AS Roma during the clubs' preseason friendly match at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, Israel. (Yonhap)

Son will face a lot of competition. Kane and Salah are the only two active players with three Golden Boots and they won't be going anywhere. And then there are newcomers who will mount a challenge to the throne: Darwin Nunez of Liverpool, the reigning scoring leader and the Player of the Year in the top Portuguese league, and Erling Haaland of Manchester City, who took his talent to England after destroying the Bundesliga for 62 goals in 67 matches over the past three seasons.

Tottenham were one of the busiest teams in the summer, acquiring the likes of Brazilian forward Richarlison, Frecnh defender Clement Lenglet and versatile Croatian wing back Ivan Perisic. With four competitions on the horizon -- the Premier League, the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League -- Spurs could use all the depth they can afford. And in league play, Spurs are expected to give title favorites Manchester City and Liverpool a run for their money.

With Son getting most of the spotlight, his countryman Hwang Hee-chan will be entering his second Premier League season with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In this EPA file photo from May 7, 2022, Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers (R) battles Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea for the ball during their clubs' Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London. (Yonhap)

Hwang must find more consistency to establish himself with Wolves. After joining the Premier League club on a loan from the German side RB Leipzig, Hwang scored three times in his first four matches.

But he managed just two goals over his next 26 appearances. He did not find the back of the net after Feb. 24.

At least Hwang has some sense of security, with Wolves having exercised their option for a permanent deal that will keep Hwang at Molineux until 2026.

With the FIFA World Cup scheduled to kick off in Qatar in November, the Premier League, along with other competitions in Europe, will press pause in November. The season will resume in mid-December.

In this Associated Press file photo from May 11, 2022, Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers reacts to a play against Manchester City during the clubs' Premier League match at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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