Despite enjoying two successful seasons at Celtic under Ange Postecoglou since joining from Vissel Kobe in 2021, with some even dubbing him the best Celtic striker since Henrik Larsson, Kyogo Furuhashi’s form has noticeably dipped this season under Brendan Rodgers.
Last season, under Postecoglou, Kyogo thrived in the Scottish Premiership, contributing an impressive 27 goals and three assists in 36 appearances, with his performances playing a pivotal part in Celtic’s domestic treble triumph, with notable goals in both the League Cup and Scottish Cup finals.
However, this season, Kyogo’s influence in games has lessened, particularly when he is not scoring, leading to speculation over whether he fits into Rodgers’ style of play. This is reflected in his statistics this season, with just eight goals and three assists in 23 Scottish Premiership appearances.
With Celtic more patient in possession under Rodgers, it appears likely that in the coming days before the January window closes that the club will sign a striker better suited to dropping deep whilst in possession.
Over the last six months the Hoops have been consistently linked with a move for Sydney van Hooijdonk, the son of former Celtic striker Pierre van Hooijdonk, who currently finds himself out-of-favour at Bologna.
Despite limited Serie A appearances this season, featuring only nine times with no goals in just 207 minutes on the pitch, van Hooijdonk’s impressive record of 16 goals and an assist in 33 Eredivisie appearances on loan at Herenveen last season, has led to the belief that he could prove an upgrade on current second-choice striker Oh Hyeon-gyu.
In this article, we delve into the data of van Hooijdonk and Furuhashi. Due to van Hooijdonk’s limited game time this season, we compare his 33 Eredivisie appearances last season against Kyogo’s 23 in the Scottish Premiership this season.
GOALS AND SHOOTING
Unsurprisingly, van Hooijdonk comes out on top with 0.55 goals per 90 last season, slightly overperforming his expected goals (xG) tally of 0.48. This indicates his ability to convert chances more effectively than Kyogo. With 3.13 shots per 90 and 1.27 shots on target, van Hooijdonk showcases a clinical nature in front of goal.
Kyogo, on the other hand, has underperformed his (xG) with 0.45 goals per 90 despite an (xG) tally of 0.62, with 3.31 shots per 90 and 1.06 shots on target. The Japanese striker takes more shots but not only scores less, but also fails to hit the target as much as van Hooijdonk.
Given Herenveen’s eighth-place finish in the Eredivisie last season, it is clear that if van Hooijdonk were to join Celtic in the coming days, his goals and shots per 90 would undoubtedly increase, especially in a Hoops side currently averaging 70% in the Scottish Premiership this season.
PASSING AND LINKUP PLAY
With Kyogo’s lack of linkup often criticised van Hooijdonk’s assist tally stands at a modest 0.03 per 90 and his expected assists (xA) a minimal 0.06, highlighting an area of his game he could improve in setting up goals in the final third.
Kyogo, on the other hand, has averaged 0.17 assists per 90 this season, with an xA of 0.11. However, this can largely be attributed down to van Hooijdonk’s tendency to drop deep and link play, as well as his preference for shooting when in possession in the final thirs, rather than setting up teammates.
Kyogo tends spends more time in the opposition’s box, which is reflected in his lower successful passes per 90 of only 7.62, compared to van Hooijdonk. Despite lower assist numbers, van Hooijdonk’s data reflects that he is more willing to be involved in buildup play, with almost double the successful passes of Kyogo.
In terms of dribbling, van Hooijdonk also comes out on top with 0.34 successful dribbles per 90 to Kyogo’s 0.28. Despite registering fewer successful dribbles per 90 at 0.28, Kyogo boasts a higher dribble success rate of 55.6% compared with 41.7%. Meaning that when he dribbles Kyogo is more effective than van Hooijdonk.
Van Hooijdonk also averages more touches overall compared to Kyogo, with 31.47 touches compared to Kyogo’s 21.46. However, Kyogo averages a greater number of touches inside the box at 4.88, compared to van Hooijdonk’s 4.44.
This further emphasises that Kyogo is more of a penalty box striker than van Hooijdonk. Yet again, though, van Hooijdonk would likely increase his number of touches inside the box at Celtic in a more possession-dominant side.
Defensively, Kyogo records 0.22 aerial duels won per 90, with a modest 20% success rate in aerial duels, 0.11 interceptions, 0.90 recoveries, and wins possession 0.28 times per 90 in the final third. In contrast, Van Hooijdonk’s data reflects a very different striker leading from the front, averaging 2.27 aerial duels won per 90, boasting an impressive 45.2% success rate in aerial duels, 0.03 interceptions, 1.41 recoveries, and 0.21 possessions won in the final third.
The data highlights Van Hooijdonk’s dominance in aerial duels, evident from his superior numbers in both aerial duels won and success rate. Additionally, his greater number of recoveries show his willingness to win possession back as quickly as possible, a trait that is crucial in a side like Celtic, who typically have the ball for the majority of games domestically.
While Kyogo demonstrates effectiveness in winning possession in the final third, Van Hooijdonk’s overall numbers emphasise his commanding physical presence compared to Kyogo.
The data reveals that Sydney van Hooijdonk would likely address Celtic’s goal-scoring issues up front, especially considering Kyogo’s decline in form and involvement in games this season.
The comparison between van Hooijdonk and Kyogo highlights van Hooijdonk’s strengths in various aspects of the game. Notably, his superior goal-scoring ability, dribbling, aerial threat and increased involvement in build-up play suggest he could offer a more versatile attacking threat for Celtic. While Kyogo is efficient in the final third with his dribble success rate, van Hooijdonk’s overall data make him a promising transfer target to solve Celtic’s lack of goals upfront this season.
(All data from https://www.fotmob.com/)
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