Man Utd ‘reluctance’ to pass to Hojlund laid bare in stats but he beats Haaland

Erling Haaland and Rasmus Hojlund
Erling Haaland and Rasmus Hojlund

Are Manchester United players reluctant to pass the ball to Rasmus Hojlund? The stats would seem to back up the theory.

In a list of the 21 Manchester United players who have featured in the equivalent of five full Premier League games this season, Hojlund finishes dead last for passes received per 90 minutes, below every player including the goalkeeper Andre Onana.

For context, across all players across the Premier League who have reached the same criteria, the only players to receive the ball less than Hojlund are various goalkeepers, Sheffield United defender Mason Holgate, Brentford forward Yoane Wissa and, erm, Manchester City goal machine Erling Haaland.

Yes, Haaland receives the ball from his teammates fewer times per 90 minutes than Hojlund. And yet Haaland has outscored Hojlund by 25 goals to eight. But while Haaland is actually underscoring on his xG, Hojlund has actually scored more goals than he should. He has matched Martin Odegaard’s eight-goal haul from almost exactly half the attempts.

The lesson? Maybe Manchester United players should pass to him more.

The full list of Manchester United players and how many times they receive the ball from their teammates every 90 minutes in the Premier League:

1) Casemiro (54.5)
2) Sofyan Amrabat (53.6)
3) Lisandro Martinez (50.9)
4) Bruno Fernandes (49.7)

This is pretty astonishing for a primarily attacking player and perhaps reflects their over-reliance on the Portuguese.

5) Christian Eriksen (48.9)
6) Victor Lindelof (47.7)
7) Harry Maguire (42.5)
8) Jonny Evans (42.0)
9) Luke Shaw (40.7)
10) Antony (38.8)

That Antony finds himself above other purely attacking players is interesting; is he making himself more available? Is it just because he keeps being pushed into a left-back role?

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11) Raphael Varane (37.4)
12) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (36.1)
13) Diogo Dalot (36.0)
14) Kobbie Mainoo (36.0)
15) Alejandro Garnacho (35.9)
16) Mason Mount (31.6)

Mount’s numbers are starkly different to those of Fernandes, who is his closest equivalent within the squad.

17) Marcus Rashford (31.3)
18) Anthony Martial (29.6)
19) Scott McTominay (27.4)
20) Andre Onana (25.0)
21) Rasmus Hojlund (17.8)

That really is a stark drop to Hojlund but there is a similar tale at Manchester City, with Haaland receiving the ball 17.7 times per 90 minutes, though there are 12 City players who receive the ball more often in 90 minutes than Casemiro.