You can count the number of goals Scott Hogan has scored for Aston Villa on one hand – that’s 3 goals for those who didn’t know. After signing for £12m in January 2017, Hogan was deemed to be surefire signing, guaranteeing goals for the foreseeable future.
After gaining only 1118 minutes of Championship playing time (12 starts, 8 substitute appearances) since his big money move, is there a future here for the ex-Brentford man? Or should we be looking to cash in?
In 2016 Scott Hogan scored 20 goals for Brentford, showing pace, power and finishing ability that meant at just 25 years of age – and with no offence meant towards the club – he was certain to gain a move away from the Bees eventually.
It was Villa that finally stepped up and signed the Salford born forward, who became Steve Bruce’s most expensive ever signing. You would assume this would make Hogan the golden boy somewhat for Bruce, but it seems to have gone completely the opposite way.
Scott Hogan + “Hoofball”
When it comes to long balls, Steve Bruce’s men have attempted 517 so far this season, yet only Cardiff are behind Villa when it comes to the accuracy of those long-range passes. From the 517 attempts, only 180 have succeeded, giving a shockingly bad statistic of 35% long-range pass accuracy.
At 5ft 9in tall, it isn’t surprising that Scott Hogan isn’t thriving off the service he receives, winning just 0.1 of his aerial duels this season. The team is set up in a way for the likes of Keinan Davis to knock down those “hoof balls” to his teammates, however Davis has only began starting in the last few games, and our only other forward over 6ft (Jonathan Kodjia) is just now returning to full fitness. There hasn’t really been any chance given to Hogan alongside one of these larger, more physical striker partners.
Speaking of fitness, we must also remember that Hogan’s minuscule figure of 12 starts since January is predominantly due to a nasty ankle injury that he picked up in February. Our midweek Carabao Cup clash with Middlesbrough saw Hogan yet again pulled off with an apparent injury, this time to his foot, a decision that the player initially seemed pretty unhappy with. Post-match comments from Steve Bruce indicated that his removal from the match was due to the upcoming league clash against Nottingham Forest, which points towards there still being faith in Hogan to come good.
With Ross McCormack seemingly out of the picture, we’re light on strikers at the minute, especially any that are in form (which is probably why we’re scouting the likes of Alfredo Morelos). It would be crazy to give up on Hogan just yet, even more so due his time out via injury, and although there are arguments on social media that he is missing chances I’d put that down to confidence rather than ability.
Born in an offside position
One problem Hogan must address is his tendency to stray offside, a problem that stems back to his time at Brentford. His eagerness to make runs is impressive, but his awareness of the backline and their positioning must be improved drastically, similar to the issue we had with Christian Benteke during his time here.
Personally, if Steve Bruce remains as Villa manager and continues to use our current style of play, I believe a Keinan Davis and Scott Hogan partnership could work wonders. Of course you must then ask, what about Kodjia? It is a dilemma that most managers would be incredibly happy to have, and only time will tell if Bruce will enjoy food for thought or persist with trips to Big John’s.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.