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Jonathan Hogg: The Arc of Redemption

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Over the course of the past month, Jonathan Hogg has executed an arc of redemption that a Hollywood blockbuster would be proud of.

When the red mist descended and an off-the-ball clash between Jonathan Hogg and Harry Arter resulted in the former being sent off, questions were asked about Jonathan Hogg, his captaincy and if he had what it takes to excel in the Premier League.

The pressure was mounting. After a winless start to the season, it was proclaimed that the season would start against Cardiff City. If that was the case, it certainly didn’t go to plan.

A moment of madness, coming in the sixty-third minute by Town’s captain seemed to have recklessly thrown away the chance of a priceless first victory of the season against a relegation rival.

Jonathan Hogg had always been regarded as the model professional. Someone with a tireless work ethic who embodied the ‘Terrier Spirit’. Someone who led by example but that moment saw some paint him as the villain.

One of the main questions, was would Jonathan Hogg even get back into the side?

With Aaron Mooy remaining as Town’s talismanic figure and Philip Billing seemingly coming of age this season, Jonathan Hogg’s place in the side was under serious scrutiny.

This was compounded by the fact that during Hogg’s absence, Town had arguably their best two performances of the season. With Mooy and Billing impressing in both the well-earned point at Goodison Park and the home game against Crystal Palace, which had everything but the slice of luck needed.

However, Jonathan Hogg was given an opportunity to force his way back into the starting line-up. We saw a marked improvement almost immediately.

The most prominent factor underpinning Hogg’s marked improvement over the past month and more broadly¬†his arc of redemption, has been the departure from the 4-2-3-1 system.

With David Wagner making the conscience switch to a variation of 3-5-2/3-4-2-1 to accommodate his imperious midfield trio, the player that has undoubtedly benefited the most from this has been Jonathan Hogg.

Last season, we saw how effective Jonathan Hogg was in covering ground and breaking up play. However, often the holding midfielder’s limitations in possession were exposed.

Within this system, we have seen over the course of the past few games that it very much plays to Jonathan Hogg’s strengths.

As part of a complementary midfield trio alongside Mooy and Billing with frequent cameos from Alex Pritchard dropping back into midfield from advanced positions, Jonathan Hogg has been allowed to do what he does best. That is, to be the anchor at the base of a midfield diamond.

It has been this balance to Town’s midfield, which has not only been the key to Town’s turn-around of form but also Jonathan Hogg’s transformation.

Like Hogg himself and the amount of work that he does, this remarkable turn-around and his personal arc of redemption will most likely go unnoticed by most.

However, it is worth highlighting that in the space of ten games, Jonathan Hogg has turned from a villain to some into the lynchpin of a midfield which is the envy of many in the bottom half of the Premier League.