Scott Hogan has been receiving some undeserved criticism on social media for… scoring a goal?
Words by Regan Foy | @FindFoy
If you place Scott Hogan on a football pitch with an opposition goal on it, you won’t know whether he’s a good striker until he’s played on it regularly. So until he’s played on it regularly, Scott Hogan is simultaneously a good and a bad striker.
That’s our version of Schrödinger’s cat, but tailored towards everyone’s most lambasted Aston Villa striker since the departure of Ross McCormack, Scott Hogan. Schrödinger’s striker.
The thing is, nobody really knows what Scott Hogan can offer, because he has never been used to the extent that he was under Dean Smith at Brentford. Just to ensure we’re on the same level, Scott played no less than 85 minutes per game at Brentford under Dean Smith, across twenty-five separate appearances in the Sky Bet Championship in the 2016/17 season, and showed the form that forced Steve Bruce to pay above the odds for the forward.
For that entire season, including his time after joining Aston Villa, Hogan played 3287 minutes of football. The season after, he played 2060. Last season, across spells for Aston Villa and Sheffield United, he played in just 573.
Let’s compare him to two other strikers who have joined newly promoted side Sheffield United, where Hogan spent the latter half of the season in Aston Villa’s promotion campaign.
Callum Robinson had more than both Lys Mousset and Scott Hogan’s game time combined, notching up 2579 minutes compared to the 765 of Mousset and 748 of Hogan.
But whilst Robinson enjoyed more game time, and looks the better of the players with twelve goals across the season, Hogan actually enjoys the exact same xG per 90 minutes as the newly minted Sheffield United forward. So in every 90 minutes, you should expect 36% of their chances to result in a goal. However, this is where the metrics skew a little, with Robinson’s game time proving to provide the forward with more shots per 90 – as he took almost 1.3 more shots than Hogan did, albeit in 16 more appearances and swathes more minutes.
Hogan has come out and said that he has something to prove this season after Mick McCarthy said that he needs to be playing – and in an effort to prove himself to Dean Smith, Scott Hogan reported early to training this summer, as he was expected to take a longer holiday due to international games, leaving his heavily pregnant fiance at home. He’s certainly wanting to impress the manager.
In 45 minutes against Minnesota, Scott Hogan didn’t really do much. He had one shot, which was on target, made five passes, and tried, unsuccessfully, to dribble past a defender twice. In his 45 minutes against Shrewsbury, Hogan had a little more joy, and scored the only goal of the game.
If you take the Minnesota game at face value, Scott Hogan is a bad striker. If you take the Shrewsbury game at face value, Scott Hogan is still a bad striker according to some fans. But that’s not the case, the Republic of Ireland international scored a good goal and enjoyed a decent run on the wing and central area at the Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium.
Fans need to drop preconceived notions about players, especially in pre-season, and support whichever players are putting on the claret and blue. There have been swathes of fans discussing Scott Hogan’s striking prowess, and giving him a hard time for scoring a goal – how does this make sense, especially in pre-season?
The main argument of those who are in the ‘Hogan is a bad striker’ bracket argue that his shot was straight at the goalkeeper, which bounced against O’Leary and into the net – but this is a goal that Premier League and Sky Bet Championship forwards score at an alarming rate across seasons.
Realistically, Hogan epitomises Schrödinger’s striker. We don’t know whether he’s good or he’s not, because he’s never been allowed to get going at Aston Villa, with his last full ninety minutes coming in April of 2018 – in a 3-0 win against Reading (in which he scored), and a 3-1 loss against Norwich City.
Anything can happen in the world of football. But just support the players wearing your clubs shirt.