What to make of Hearts and their strong start to 2021/22

Heart of Midlothian

Hearts, officially known as Heart of Midlothian, is statistically better than Celtic and Rangers. Unsurprisingly, that is a bold statement. Celtic and Rangers dominate Scottish soccer. But, let’s break it down.

Hearts roared out of the gates to start the season. Moreover, this early success comes after promotion from the Scottish Championship in 2020/21. If they can keep their form, European competition for the first time since 2016 could be on the cards.

But how did Hearts, now the biggest fan-owned club in the United Kingdom, get to this point?

Hearts in Scottish Competition

Scottish League Cup

In the prestigious Scottish League Cup, the club received an unfortunate hand.

It won all four of their group stage matches with a +8 goal difference, dominating the beginning of the competition. However, a tough draw in the knockout stage came against Celtic.

An in-form Odsonne Edouard, now playing for Crystal Palace, led the Hoops as they narrowly won, 3-2.

Realisticaly, Hearts likely advances further if they avoid Celtic or Rangers in that first draw. Still, the tournament gave the Jam Tarts a head of steam. Additionally, the performances provided foreshadowing for what would happen next.

Scottish Premiership

So far in Scotland’s top flight, Hearts’ strong start puts them at second in the table. An early-season upset over Celtic preceded another win over St. Mirren. The club then picked up four points after a draw with Aberdeen, then a win over Dundee United.

READ MORE: How to watch the Scottish Premiership on U.S. TV.

A high-octane offense leads the way for the club. Norther Ireland striker Liam Boyce leads the way. The forward bagged seven goals through the team’s nine games. HMFC consistently outplays their opponents in the final third. Although their defense will need to be upgraded if they want good results time and time again, their offensive production is a step in the right direction.

Now, another tough test awaits. Hibernian comes to Tynecastle Park this Sunday in a battle of two teams atop the table after four games played.

Notable players to watch

Acquisitions and Departures

All things considered, Hearts put together a strong summer 2021 transfer window.

ArrivalsFormer TeamDeparturesNew Team
Ben WoodburnLiverpool (loan)Andy IrvingTurkgucu Munich
Taylor MooreBristol City (loan)Craig WinstonDunfermline Athletic
Beni BaningimeEverton
Josh GinnellyPreston North End
Alex CochraneBrighton and Hove Albion U-23s

 

They’ve acquired a slew of players to help them reach success and, so far, their strategy of bringing in unproven starlets and out-of-favor players from English clubs is working.

Hearts and Scottish Cup

Hearts found their greatest success recently when they won the 2012 Scottish Cup. However, the club reached the Scottish Cup Final in both 2018/19 and 2019/20, losing to Celtic both times.

The club shifted their policy to target unproven starlets and out-of-favor players from English clubs. So far, it is hard to argue the relative success.

With the policy in action this summer, Hearts FC strengthened their squad immensely.

Key Players

Skipper Craig Gordon mans the net. Despite Gordon being a 38-year-old keeper, he leads of one of the most exciting HMFC teams in a long time. Defensively, Taylor Moore will be the most involved in the team’s proceedings. Stefan Kingsley can bring pace as a wingback. Also, new signings Beni Baningme and Ben Woodburn will be needed in the midfield.

Goalscorers like Liam Boyce and Armand Gnanduillet will power Hearts’ extremely potent offense.

Expectations

Based on Hearts’ promising start to the season, emphasized by their upset over Celtic, Hearts could finish in the top six of the table. If Hearts FC plays their cards right and gives it their all on the field, they could end up in a European qualification spot.

But I wouldn’t bet on it. The competition in Scotland is heating up, and the table is really tight now. However, anything can happen in one of soccer’s most passionate leagues.

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2 Comments

  1. Chris September 7, 2021
  2. Deolu Akingbade September 7, 2021

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