Hojlund and Haaland Stats Compared as Man United Star Finally Takes Over Premier League

Hojlund and Haaland Stats Compared as Man United Star Finally Takes Over Premier League

Martin Moses
updated at February 20, 2024 at 10:49 AM
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Rasmus Højlund logo
R. Hojlund
Manchester United logoFDenmark logo
Erling Braut Haaland logo
Manchester City logoFNorway logo
Manchester City logo
Manchester City
Manchester United logo
Manchester United
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ENG Premier League
  • Erling Haaland has become the yardstick upon which Premier League strikers are gauged
  • So much so that Rasmus Hojlund was expected to match Haaland's numbers immediately
  • He endured a torrid start to his Manchester United career, but things are starting to look up

They say good things take time to come, and boy, did Rasmus Hojlund wait for lady luck to smile his way.

When the newly-signed Manchester United striker went for 14 Premier League games without a goal involvement, not even the five Champions League goals he had scored saved him from criticism.

Rasmus Hojlund, Erling Haaland, Manchester United, Manchester City
Rasmus Hojlund applauds fans after Manchester United's game against Luton Town on February 18. Photo by Ash Donelon.
Source: Getty Images

For a striker signed for £64 million, potentially rising to £72 million with add-ons, many expected him to hit the ground running to alleviate Erik ten Hag's problems upfront.

Anthony Martial's incessant injury woes and Marcus Rashford's preference to play from the left meant that the Red Devils needed an out-and-out number 9 to build on the gains of last season.

After scoring nine goals in the Serie A for Atalanta and a couple more for the Danish national team, Hojlund immediately drew comparisons with Erling Haaland for his predatory instincts inside the box.

So when he arrived on the other side of Manchester, a theoretical rivalry started. Haaland, who had joined the summer earlier, had monopolised the Premier League, scoring 36 goals in his first 35 appearances.

Hojlund's poor star to Premier League life

The early signs showed that Hojlund wasn't set on a similar path as Haaland. He went for over 1200 minutes without registering a single goal involvement.

Frustrations grew.

Ten Hag maintained faith in his striker, playing him regularly, and it was only after Christmas when he scored his first goal - in the dramatic comeback win over the high-flying Aston Villa.

He hasn't looked back since then. The 21-year-old scored in the first minute against Luton on February 19 to become the youngest player to score in six successive Premier League games.

He is now up to seven goals for the season, turning around Manchester United's season as they aim for the Champions League spots. And the Haaland debate is back on.

While the former Atalanta man bagged a brace vs Luton, Haaland endured arguably one of his worst days in front of goal in the one-all draw against Chelsea. He had nine shots on target, including three big chances, but failed to convert in any of them.

It's not like the former Borussia Dortmund striker is having an off-season. He leads the top-scorer standings with 16 goals and five assists despite a long layoff in December and January.

Hojlund vs Haaland 2023/2024 stats

He averages more shots on target than Hojlund, but his conversion rate has been considerably poor compared to the standards he set last season. In fact, no Premier League player has missed more big chances than the 21 Haaland has missed this season.

To his credit, he has created 22 chances, five of which have been converted. Hojlund has created 17 chances and has two assists from them.

The Manchester United man, however, betters his rival in overall team play as he leads in the number of successful passes completed and successful take-ons. Ten Hag's set-up has also got the Dane committing more to helping out the defence, which explains why he leads Haaland in terms of ball recoveries.

Hojlund's goal tally could perhaps have been higher had he been the team's penalty-taker. Manchester United have gotten three penalties this season with Bruno Fernandes scoring one and missing one, with Rashford scoring the other.

Ten Hag's faith repaid

United's approach post-Sir Alex Ferguson was centred around bringing in experienced forwards. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, and Edinson Cavani are among the strikers who realised different levels of success.

The club choosing to back a 20-year-old to compete for major honours was a major shift in policy which, before Christmas, appeared to have backfired. But the investment looks worth it, and with every game, the Haaland comparisons will ring even louder.

Stats quoted herein are courtesy of the Premier League, Squawka and Transfermarkt.

Goalkeepers with most clean sheets

Sports Brief has also reported that David Raya has kept the most clean sheets this season. The Arsenal goalkeeper had a quiet afternoon on February 17 as the Gunners beat Burnley 5-0.

He is joint-top with Everton's Jordan Pickford despite the Toffees flirting with relegation this season.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)