If 2024 is the 12 months of the Dragon within the Chinese language zodiac, then 2024 has definitely begun because the 12 months of the Dane at Previous Trafford.
Following a troublesome begin to life within the Premier League at Manchester United, Danish dynamo Rasmus Hojlund has come alive since scoring the winner towards Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
Zero objectives and 0 assists within the fourteen league video games prior so far have been proceeded by 5 objectives and two assists within the subsequent 5. Hojlund additionally scored an vital objective within the FA Cup 4th spherical tie towards Newport County, placing the sport to mattress at some extent the place it appeared it could cling within the stability.
The Dane has began seven video games since Boxing Day. United have received six and drawn only one. The one recreation he missed – the journey to the Metropolis Floor to face Nottingham Forest – resulted in a disappointing 2-1 defeat.
No Premier League participant has scored greater than Hojlund since Boxing Day. Whereas the speed of the striker’s productiveness is spectacular, what’s much more spectacular is the character of his contributions.
As talked about above, Hojlund scored the winner towards Villa on Boxing Day. He adopted this up by scoring the primary and helping the second within the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Two weeks later, Hojlund scored the fourth within the 4-2 win over Newport County.
🥁 Our January Purpose of the Month award goes to…
Rasmus Hojlund for his strike towards Spurs! 👏👑#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2024
Just a few days later, the Dane as soon as once more supplied a objective and an help as United triumphed in a pulsating 4-3 win over Wolves at Molineux. Hojlund then opened proceedings towards West Ham within the subsequent match, as his crew went on to win 3-0 at Previous Trafford.
Which then brings us full circle to yesterday’s reverse fixture away at Villa Park.
The 21-year-old put United 1-0 up courtesy of a well-taken poacher’s objective within the field from a nook. Although Aston Villa would degree the sport, a late header by Scott McTominay was adequate to present United all three factors in a pivotal recreation for his or her Champions League qualification prospects.
There may be additionally a spread to Hojlund’s objectives which speaks to a participant with high quality and confidence in equal measure.
The opening objectives towards Spurs and West Ham have been world-class strikes. The objectives towards Newport County, Wolves and Villa have been quintessential fox-in-the-box efforts, demonstrating the Dane’s predatory instincts. The objective which started this electrical type – the acrobatic winner on Boxing Day – displayed his athleticism and invention.
The distinction between a statistical evaluation of Hojlund earlier than and after the Christmas interval is stark.
Have a look at that conversion price from Hojlund. pic.twitter.com/bxE2jRgXTc
— United Peoples TV (@UnitedPeoplesTV) February 12, 2024
Earlier than Boxing Day, the Dane had performed 14 video games, beginning 11 of them – good for 945 minutes of time on the pitch. But he had neither scored nor assisted a single objective in these appearances. He’d solely taken 18 pictures, producing an xG (Anticipated Objectives) of three.01.
However, from Boxing Day onwards, Hojlund had performed 442 minutes throughout 5 begins and scored 5 objectives, whereas laying on two help. He has achieved this whereas taking simply 8 pictures -a staggering 62.5% shot conversion price; whereas his xG from this has been 2.33 – an overperformance by practically three objectives.
Put merely, Hojlund has gone to a brand new degree since (simply earlier than) the New 12 months within the Premier League. The Dane had demonstrated flashes of those performances within the Champions League the place, regardless of United being eradicated from the group phases in fourth place, he’s nonetheless the competitors’s joint-top scorer (5 objectives).
There’s a extra full nature to Hojlund’s video games domestically, nevertheless, than his efforts earlier within the season continentally.
He appears fitter, able to urgent for the complete ninety minutes, moderately than gassing after an hour, like earlier within the yr. His two assists – each for Marcus Rashford – present he’s linking along with his crew mates extra successfully. His dressing down of Alejandro Garnacho within the FA Cup 4th spherical, after the Argentine winger failed to search out the Dane within the field, additionally demonstrates he’s being extra demanding of them.
However, most of all, he appears extra assured with each step he takes. Ruud van Nistelrooy – the previous deadly quantity 9 at Previous Trafford – as soon as remarked: “An important factor for a striker is confidence in entrance of objective.”
Hojlund seems to be overflowing with it since Boxing Day.