Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s performance for Tottenham Hotspur this weekend has seen him labelled as the club’s ‘player of the season so far’.
The Danish midfielder scored late on to seal all three points for Spurs as they edged past a stubborn Everton, who appeared set up to hit Antonio Conte’s side on the counter-attack.
Harry Kane’s second-half penalty gave Tottenham a slender advantage, and while the Toffees were unable to create any chances as gilt-edged as the ones they missed in the first opening 45 minutes, Hojbjerg finally put the game to bed with a late deflected effort.
However, his display was subject to mixed reviews from the media.
A Spurs mix-up handed Everton what would be their best chance of the game, with Amadou Onana blazing over after Hojbjerg had knocked the ball beyond an on-rushing Cristian Romero, leaving the Belgian with a clear sight of Hugo Lloris’ goal.
90min’s Grey Whitebloom handed the midfielder a 6/10 match rating as a result – although he certainly redeemed himself with his late clincher.
The Sun’s Tom Barclay hailed Hojbjerg’s finish and overall performance levels, writing: “What a clinical finish from Hojbjerg, arguably Spurs’ player of the season so far.”
Meanwhile, writer Alex Mitton was left raving over the Dane’s performance, arguing that he continues to deliver for the club despite being ‘disrespected’ by sections of the club’s supporters.
He said: “I love it how Hojbjerg is continually disrespected by some people in the fanbase, yet he silences them every single time.”
TIF Thoughts on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s performance for Spurs…
We can see both sides of the argument, here. Hojbjerg was very nearly culpable for Spurs going behind – which easily could have been the case but for some poor finishing on Onana’s part.
He also lost possession 12 times – the joint third-most in the team – with only Ivan Perisic having a lower passing success rate out of Spurs players to record at least 20 attempts (as per SofaScore).
But it seems clear that the positive elements of Hojbjerg’s display outweighed the negatives as he continued his relatively high-scoring season by netting his third in 10 games – having scored five times for Spurs in all competitions prior to this campaign.
Has Hojbjerg been Spurs' best player this season?
Therefore, we can see why this seemingly transformed Hojbjerg has been given such high praise by the likes of Barclay, while Football.london’s Alasdair Gold and the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick handed the midfielder ratings of 9/10 and 8/10 respectively for his efforts on Saturday evening.
Whether this upturn in form – particularly in front of goal – is down to Antonio Conte or the player himself, Hojbjerg is more than showing his worth to Spurs and it seems he will be crucial to the team’s chances of success this term.