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’95 touches & 69 passes’ – a £36m-rated Spurs monster was Conte’s big unsung hero vs Villa

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Tottenham Hotspur put the race for the top four in their own hands with a rampant showing against Aston Villa on Saturday evening as midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg delivered a monstrous display, writes the FFC.

Heung-min Son was the talisman as he bagged himself a hat-trick, whilst his accompanying attackers – Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski – were the providers with Antonio Conte’s front three contributing an attacking masterclass at Villa Park.

But for all of their counter-attacking exploits in the final third, there had to be some sort of cover and that came from the Danish rock in the heart of the pitch.

Despite being one of three Spurs players to pick up a yellow card, he was a real thorn in Steven Gerrard’s side, often breaking up their play, whilst also looking to get the north Londoners back on the front foot.

As per SofaScore, he led the game for touches (95), ahead of any other Tottenham midfielder or forward by quite some margin, with engine room partner Rodrigo Bentancur managing nearly 30 fewer touches (68).

From his heavy involvement in the proceedings, the £36m-rated machine delivered 92% of his 75 passing attempts (69) – only Ben Davies (95%) and Kane (93%) were better – and recorded a squad-high two interceptions, on top of three tackles, two clearances and eight duels won from 13 battles.

Elsewhere on the pitch, Hojbjerg looked to be positive on the ball as he registered two successful dribbles and he even had three shots on goal, also via SofaScore.

It’s no wonder he’s been lauded as a “monster” in the past by former Danish international Morten Bisgaard to The Athletic.

football.london’s Alasdair Gold was left impressed by the 26-year-old powerhouse as he handed him a 9/10 in his post-match ratings column, earning better than Kane (8/10) and Kulusevski (8/10).

‘Lead Spurs in the centre of the pitch with his battling and soaking up the tackles that rained in on him. Big performance from the Dane,’ he wrote.

Indeed, it was Hojbjerg’s resolute presence in the engine room that allowed his teammates, namely Son, Kane and Kulusevski to shine in the final third and often, it’s that sort of display that goes unnoticed.

The monster-like Dane was arguably the unsung hero from Spurs’ top-four-boosting win over Villa this weekend.

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