Who loves a good roller coaster? There is not a better analogy for the 2021-22 Tottneham Hotspur season than that of a roller coaster, and I am here to guide you through the roller coaster that was this season. My name is Dustin Gentile, and over the next four weeks, I will be here to give you my take on the 2021-22 Tottenham Hotspur season. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will be bringing you my take on the best goals, most exhilarating games, the biggest moments, and brightest stars from the season that was 2021-22. Without much further ado, let’s look at this week’s list…
Top Goals of the Season (#10-6)
When looking at the goals of the year, there are a few standout candidates for the best of the season. When compiling this list, I judged all of the goals on the following criteria: the impact the goal had on the game, the impact the goal had on the season, and the quality of the goal itself. Before we get into the list, I do have a few honorable mentions that just missed the list.
Lucas Moura v Norwich (12/5/21) and v Crystal Palace (12/26/21)
It may have not been the banner year for club folk hero Lucas Moura, but his work in December produced a couple of fantastic goals. The Brazilian began the month with some slick footwork to get into scoring position (much like his footwork leading to his second goal against Ajax back in the second leg of the 2019 Champions League semifinal) and the finish was the cherry on top. He then capped off the month with a leaping effort that punished the Crystal Palace defender and the back of the net. It’s crazy to think that if the season ended on New Year’s Eve, both of these goals would have finished in the top three. While a strong second half of the season forced both of these goals out of the top ten, both are worthy of a mention.
Ben White (OG) v Newcastle (5/16/22)
What? You expected to read a Spurs blog and not come across a dig at Woolwich? Put this in perspective: both Spurs and Arsenal spent the summer transfer window looking to bolster their back line. Both clubs bought a 23-year old center back. Both clubs spent €50+ million on their defender. It is a bit of business that will be talked about for years to come, and one of those signings found himself on the wrong side of scoring an own goal that cost his team a spot in the Champions League… and it was not the center back playing in lilywhite.
Chalk this up as the feel good story of the year. In my opinion, Spurs always do a great job of creating moments like this, and this was as pure a moment as they come!
Onto the Top 10 List…
#10 – Matt Doherty v Newcastle (4/3/22)
Earlier this year, the Podspur crew called for the Matt Doherty era in North London to come to an end. His time in a Spurs shirt to that point had been less than ideal, and fans were ready to see him sold in the January transfer window. Then, something changed. Doherty’s run of poor performances ended. He started to play like the Matt Doherty we bought from Wolves. The Matt Doherty who hit Spurs in the mouth in December of 2018 at Wembley. The real Matt Doherty showed up and started creating goals, and this one was great.
After Ben Davies drew Spurs level late in the first half, Spurs came out the half with their foot on the gas. It looked like the set up for the latest episode of the Kane and Son show, but Kane’s pass failed to connect with a cutting Son. Enter Matt Doherty. Doherty’s run into the box put him in the perfect position to drill home the cross with a diving header to put Spurs in front and start the absolute destruction of Newcastle on the day. It was the kind of goal you expect from names like Son and Kane. Not from a wingback who, three months earlier, was on the verge of leaving the club for good. This would ignite a four-goal half from Spurs and see them take all three points as the club started to make their run up the Premier League table.
Unfortunately, Doherty’s run of form came to a screeching halt a mere six days later. Early in the first half in Spurs’ away match with Aston Villa, which we will discuss later on this list, Doherty would be forced off due to injury in the 21st minute after a harsh tackle led to a MCL tear that would signal the end to his season. There is a lot of talk so far this offseason about the club shaking up the wingback position. I am of the belief that Matt Doherty’s run of form prior to the injury and his ability to play on the left and right side will see him back in a Spurs shirt for the 2022-23 season. When he does, I will be happy to eat my words from earlier this year when I called for Spurs to move on from the Irishman.
#9 – Davinson Sanchez @ Watford (1/1/22)
In my time supporting Spurs, I have seen some great winners from some unlikely sources: Harry Winks at Fulham in January of 2019, Juan Foyth at Crystal Palace in November of 2018, Steven Bergwijn drawing level at Leicester this past January (hold tight, we will circle back around to that). The year 2022 began with another unlikely hero coming through in the late stages of a game.
While Boxing Day brought the club a great derby-win over Crystal Palace, Spurs were not able to build on that as they drew away three days later at Southampton in a match that saw three Spurs’ goals disallowed. The club needed to come out and start the new year with an emphatic win as the team seemed barely clinging to the hopes of European nights in 2022-23. That emphatic victory did not come, but a much needed three points did. As the fifth minute of stoppage time dwindled down, Son Heung-min was able to win a free kick just outside the box to the keeper’s right. This set the stage for late drama at Vicarage Road.
As the fifth minute of stoppage time became the sixth, Sonny whipped in the sweetest of crosses into the Watford box and who else but Davinson Sanchez smashed it home with a driving header, and the gumball kit-clad club from North London escaped with all the spoils on the day as I ran through my kitchen in Kentucky cooking up snacks for our traditional New Years’ Day get together with friends. Not a bad to ring in the new year.
#8 – Son Heung-min (2nd Goal) @ Aston Villa (4/9/22)
It would not be a list of the season’s top goals if I failed to mention 21-22’s Golden Boot winner, right? This Saturday match could not have started any better as Sonny smashed Spurs into the lead at Villa Park in the third minute of action. You look at that and then you look at the final score, and you think “oh, Spurs ran away with the game.” This match was far from an easy ride from the 3rd minute to the 50th minute. Villa seemed to be awakened by the South Korean’s early strike and could have found themselves up multiple goals had it not been for the stellar player of Hugo Lloris. Things settled down after Dejan Kulusevski put Spurs up two goals in the 50th minute, which set the stage for another episode of the Kane and Son show.
The play started with an incredible pass from Cuti Romero to Kane at the halfway line. This was the beginning of what I argue was the sexiest pass of the Premier League season. As the ball approached Kane, he peaks over his right shoulder to find a streaking Sonny blazing through the middle of the Villa end. The England Captain then heads a ridiculous pass onto the run of Son who leaves no doubt and secures the three points for Tottenham. I have said this since I began supporting Spurs, but Harry Kane is an incredibly underrated passer. It took him winning Playmaker of the Year last season for most others to finally listen. This pass is a testament to the playmaking ability of Harry Kane. Spurs have a world-class number nine on their roster and a world-class number ten on their roster, and both of those players are named Harry Kane.
This goal was just another chapter in the book of dominant performance at Villa Park by Sonny. He would cap off his performance with a beautiful curling effort to secure him the match ball. It was the final note in a run where Spurs would rattle off four-straight wins that would see the club score 14 goals while only conceding two. We were beginning to see the pieces fall into place for what this team could do under Antonio Conte.
#7 – Harry Winks v Morecambe (FA Cup 3rd Round) (1/9/22)
Ted Lasso and I have a few things in common. One of them is our love for the FA Cup. The cups are one of the things that I really enjoy about the game as it produces some great David v Goliath moments that all fans of sport love. What I do not love in these situations is when my team is Goliath, but at this point, Spurs seemed destined to be on the wrong side of the slingshot. Enter Harry Winks, a man who only scores BANGERS!
With just 16 minutes left in normal time and Morecambe clinging to a 1-0 lead, Spurs were able to win a free kick deep in the Morecambe final third. Harry Winks would not be the first name most Spurs fans would want to step in at this moment, but the Spurs Academy graduate delivered in stunning fashion! Winksy whipped an attempt through the box that both Harry Kane and Joe Rodon were unable to meet. The header was not needed as the in-swinger blazed past the fingertips of the Morecambe keeper and into the back of the net to level the game at one apiece. That left the Shrimps shell shocked (no pun intended) and gave Spurs the momentum to kick on and come away with a 3-1 win.
As I have said before, Winksy only scores bangers. From his late winner at Fulham to his Europa league accident last season, Harry Winks has a knack for scoring highlight reel goals. That being said, he is also a player that divides opinions among fans. For every epic night at the Santiago Bernabeu, he has a night where he struggles to progress the ball and is indecisive in the midfield. While his time down the stretch was limited to substitute appearances and his future with the club may be in doubt, it was nice to see Harry Winks have his moment to shine. As the song goes, “he’s one of our own.”
#6 – Son Heung-min (2nd Goal) v Leicester (5/1/22)
The month of May was very kind to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. There will be many times over these next four weeks where I will mention a myriad of matches from this month. I find it appropriate to start off on the first day of the month…
The biggest question entering the month of May was quite direct: would Spurs find a way to qualify for the Champions League? Poor performances at home against Brighton and on the road to Brentford saw the club drop out of the Champions League spots as Arsenal held a two-point advantage. Spurs could ill afford another set back at the hands of visiting Leicester City. Thankfully, the front three of Sonny, Kane, and Deki had already provided the team with a two-goal advantage as Harry Kane connected with a Sonny corner in the first half and an incredible Cuti Romero tackle sprung Dejan Kulusevski who set up Son to give Spurs the 2-0 advantage on the hour mark. This set the stage for my latest entry in the goals of the season list.
After Spurs had won back possesion, Emerson Royal carried the ball down the right flank and slid a pass over to Deki who cut towards the Leicester box looking for options. As he cuts back, he finds Son all alone at the top, right corner of the 18-yard box. Leicester, more than any other team, should know that Sonny is able to snatch a moment of brilliance from the smallest window of space. The South Korean switches the ball onto his left foot with his first touch and sends a curling laser into the far left corner with his second to put a bow on a massively important Spurs victory and to make Spurs’ midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stand in total disbelief. Did I mention that Sonny’s left foot is his weaker foot? You would never know that from the fact that he scored 11 of his 23 goals in the Premier League with his left foot.
This performance by Son Heung-min set the tone for the stretch run this season. While a resurgent Harry Kane was massive for the club as they pushed towards a top four finish (which we will also discuss at length in later posts over the next four week), Sonny was the real catalyst for the success of the club this season. The best part… it was just the start of an incredible month for Tottenham Hotspur.
This brings us to the end of part one. Be sure to check back in on Thursday as I unveil my top five goals of the 2021-22 season, which promises to be full of late drama, derby day performances, and – of course – ABSOLUTE BANGERS!
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