When Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg isn’t at the races, Tottenham Hotspur aren’t usually either.
After arriving in a bargain £15m move from top-flight rivals Southampton in the summer, the Dane has quickly established himself as one of Jose Mourinho’s most vital players – a captain without the armband in a crucial defensive midfield role as his ‘general’.
But at Selhurst Park this afternoon, he delivered a sub-par performance as Spurs drew 1-1 to Crystal Palace.
Harry Kane, of course, opened the scoring for the visitors with a sublime 30-yard effort that left Vicente Guaita perplexed, though the Spaniard more than made up for it in the second half denying the league leaders more than once.
Mourinho’s men allowed the Eagles back into it and they finally grabbed an equaliser when Eberechi Eze’s free-kick eventually fell to Jeffrey Sclupp to tap home just nine minutes from time.
And as already mentioned, Hojbjerg was one of many who struggled, though it is he who is most noticeable as he’s often winning every battle and starting every attack.
However, he was lightweight in possession and rather wasteful today.
Per SofaScore, the 24-year-old powerhouse won just six of a whopping 16 duels, both on the ground and aerially, in the middle of the park. He also lost the ball 13 times, committed two fouls and was dribbled past twice.
Hojbjerg did manage to record three tackles and one interception, as is the norm with him, but it wasn’t enough to have much of an impact on the game.
It’s made worse by the fact that no other player had more touches (93) than he did on the pitch – he had nearly 30 more than Palace’s most-involved player, Patrick van Aanholt.
Though clearly, it was all bark with no bite for Hojbjerg – a rare and calamitous showing that would have undoubtedly left Mourinho reeling with anger after the match.
He should know that when his £45m-rated great Dane isn’t on it, neither is his Spurs side and maybe that is something that needs to be fixed, especially if the north London ponies are wanting to be true title contenders.
AND in other news, Spurs could find their own Timo Werner in “stone-cold” EFL sensation…