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Ange must finally axe 5/10 Spurs man who gifted Man City the title

Written by on May 15, 2024

Has there been a weirder Premier League game this season than Tottenham Hotspur’s clash with Manchester City last night?

Ange Postecoglou’s side fell to a 2-0 defeat, but while the Australian was quite irate in his interviews afterwards, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Spurs fan upset with the result.

The North Londoners knew that if they won or even snatched a draw at home to the treble-winners, they would practically be crowning fierce rivals Arsenal as champions, and while no fan wants to see their side lose, this was no usual game.

That said, the majority of the players put in a display that would have been worthy of at least a point on the night, well, apart from a few, notably Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who practically ended the Gunners’ title hopes with his shambolic showing.


spurs-man-city

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s performance vs Manchester City

The announcement during the week that Mali international Yves Bissouma would miss the last two games of the season through injury meant that Højbjerg was thrown into the starting lineup against City, and while he has proven himself to be a capable Premier League midfielder over the last few years, he was woeful last night.


Pierre-Emile Højbjerg

The 28-year-old was so poor that football.london’s Spurs correspondent, Alasdair Gold, gave him the lowest match rating of the entire team on the night, a 5/10.

Explaining his rationale, the respected journalist wrote that the Dane ‘sliced a clearance straight to Phil Foden for a big chance in the first half’ and then ‘gifted City with another chance in the second half from a loose pass’, which, while succinct, perfectly captured the midfielder’s impact on the match.

However, based on his match statistics, Gold’s appraisal of the starter might be too kind.

In his 85 minutes of action, the Spurs dud took 104 touches but maintained a passing accuracy of 86%, registered an expected assist figure of just 0.04, failed to take a single shot, lost five of nine duels, lost the ball 18 times, was dribbled past twice, and made two mistakes which led to shots from City.

Højbjerg’s game vs City

Minutes

85′

Touches

104

Accurate Passes

78/91 (86%)

Crosses (Accurate)

1 (0)

Shots on Target

0

Shots off Target

0

Dribbles (Successful)

1 (0)

Duels (Won)

9 (4)

Possession Lost

18

Dribbled Past

2

Errors Leading to Shots

2

All Stats via Sofascore

In all, the former Southampton star’s performance was a disaster, and while he isn’t the worst player at the club, he still needs to be sold this summer, especially when there are already players in the team who could take his place next season.

Who could replace Højbjerg

Several midfielders at the club could start ahead of Hojberg next season, although due to the Dane playing most of his games in a defensive midfield role, the two who would be best suited are Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr.


Bissouma-Sarr-Spurs

Fortunately for fans, Postecoglou already seems to favour them, giving the Malian 2083 minutes and the Senegalese ace 2036 minutes of action this season compared to the 28-year-old’s 1456, but how much better are they?

Well, when looking at the trio’s underlying numbers, it is quickly apparent that while the former Bayern Munich midfielder produces more progressive passes per 90 than his two teammates, he comes out second or third best in every other relevant metric, with the former Metz man coming out on top in six, while the other four go the way of the ex Brighton & Hove Albion star.

Højbjerg vs Sarr vs Bissouma

Stats per 90

Højbjerg

Sarr

Bissouma

Non-Penalty Expected Goals and Assist

0.12

0.26

0.08

Progressive Carries

1.19

1.93

1.87

Progressive Passes

9.30

6.55

7.35

Shots

1.25

1.62

1.04

Passing Accuracy

87.1%

87.4%

91.7%

Goal-Creating Actions

0.14

0.31

0.13

Tackles

2.17

1.52

3.48

Tackles Won

1.19

1.08

2.26

Interceptions

1.33

1.39

1.61

Errors Leading to a Shot

0.21

0.04

0.13

Aerial Duels Won

0.56

1.03

0.61

All Stats via FBref for the 23/24 Premier League Season

Ultimately, Postecoglou would be justified in axing Hojberg simply because of his disaster-class performance against City last night.

Yet, the fact that he already has two superior central midfielders in the side, Sarr and Bissouma, means that he simply must get rid of the Dane this summer.

Related

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