Tottenham Hotspur took a huge step towards securing qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday evening, with Antonio Conte’s side running out 3-2 winners over Eintracht Frankfurt in north London.
And, having struggled to find the back of the net in recent fixtures – scoring just once from open play in the three games prior – Spurs finally looked back to their scintillating best in attack, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane turning in performances reminiscent of their spectacular campaigns in 2021/22.
Indeed, Son’s brace and Kane’s penalty in the opening 36 minutes looked to have given Tottenham an unassailable 3-1 lead after Daichi Kamada had opened the scoring for the visitors, with the Premier League side managing to hold on for all three points despite Faride Alidou pulling one back for Eintracht late on.
However, while it will undoubtedly be Son and Kane who steal Thursday morning’s headlines, one player whose incredibly impressive display against the Bundesliga side perhaps went rather more under the radar was that of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The 27-year-old has quietly become an integral part of Conte’s setup at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, starting every game under the management of the Italian so far this season, and from his performance on Wednesday, it is not difficult to see why.
Indeed, over his 85 minutes on the pitch, the £61m-rated talent was exceptional in possession of the ball, enjoying 67 touches, completing 47 of his 54 attempted passes – at a success rate of 87% – finding his man with three of his four attempted long balls, completing one cross and making one key pass.
The £100k-per-week midfielder also impressed in a defensive capacity, making three interceptions, two clearances and one tackle, as well as winning three of his six duels – at a success rate of 50% – with these returns seeing the Denmark international earn an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.2, ranking him as Spurs’ joint fourth-best player on the night.
However, undoubtedly Hojbjerg’s most notable contribution on the night was his assist for Son’s second, a move which The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke described as the Dane going “full goblin mode down the right, driving forward with the ball, skipping past defenders, chipping an inviting cross in, which Son volleys home.”
As such, while the two-goal performance of Son was certainly eye-catching, Hojbjerg was very much the beating heart of the Tottenham side on Wednesday night, something that will have delighted supporters and Conte alike.