Spurs’ Number 5 Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has arguably been our most consistent player over the past three seasons since signing from Southampton in the summer of 2020. 

The 27-year-old has notched up 110 appearances for the Lilywhites, scoring 7 goals from the heart of the midfield to fast become a favourite in N17. 

This season he has started off on fire, registering 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 Premier League appearances so far this campaign, but his game has changed in more than one way.

Since finding a consistent partner in Rodrigo Bentancur, I think that Pierre’s game has gone from strength to strength, as illustrated below.

Passing

As one of a midfield two, often being outmanned in midfield thus far this season, Pierre’s passing has had to improve, and it has in two main areas.

He has currently made 10 key passes this season, with that number set to reach 53 if he keeps up this level all season (and plays all 38 games.) Compared to 17 in 2020/21 and 30 in 2021/22, that is almost double the number of passes leading to a clear chance from Pierre (FBRef).

He has also made more passes into the final third this season, already making 47, which is set to reach 254 by the end of the season under the aforementioned conditions. This is an increase of 17 on last season (237) and 29 on his first season for the club (225) (FBRef).

This season has also seen him attempt fewer short and medium-range passes than previous seasons, but seen a dramatic increase in long passes, already completing 90 long passes this season (490 by the end of the season) compared to a previous high of 400 in 2020/21 (FBRef)

This I think is a direct link with the signings of Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison, who, along with Heung-Min Son, are more than willing to get in behind and run onto the end of a long pass, and is something I think we will see an increase in from other players such as Dier, Bentancur and Romero this season too.

More Of A Box-To-Box Midfielder Than We Have Previously Seen

Having Hojbjerg play as more of a box-to-box midfielder than before is partly because of the inclusion of Rodrigo Bentancur since January last year in my opinion.

Most Spurs fans would agree that Bentancur is a much better passer of the ball then Hojbjerg, but has been lacklustre in-front of goal, his strike against Leicester not only being his first for Spurs but his first goal in club competitions since a strike against Roma in 2020.

Hojbjerg’s dribble success rate is well up on previous seasons, currently sitting at 88.9% compared to 70.2 and 65.8 in 2021/22 and 2020/21 respectively (FBRef).

His willingness to dribble the ball has not only enabled him to complete more key passes as mentioned before, but also increased his shot output, with the Dane already having six attempts this season (34 by the end of the season) compared to 21 last season. (FBRef)

That, coupled with already equalling his previous best of 2 goals for a season for Spurs, makes me believe that we could see Hojbjerg on the scoresheet a few more times this season, certainly against opposition that we have more of the ball against, with Bentancur sitting a tad deeper and giving him more license to bridge the gap between our midfield and our strike force.

In a slight contradiction to this point, his touches in the final third are actually down in terms of what they were last season (452 by the end of this season compared to 480 last season) but this is NOT a bad thing, as it just illustrates that he is less wasteful in front of goal, as both his assists and goal numbers are up regardless (FBRef).

It will be interesting to see whether Pierre’s game continues to evolve into more of a typical Number 8 this season, instead of the more-associated 6 that he has undertaken for the club in previous seasons. In terms of reliability, he has started all but two games in the Premier League for Spurs since joining them, making him one of the most reliable players, and in my opinion, one of the most consistent. 

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