Infogol Championship Team of the Season
Based on underlying player stats over the course of the 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship season, Infogol has selected its top XI.
(When selecting players, Infogol looked at defensive (tackles, interceptions, clearances etc.) and attacking (attempts, shooting positions, xG etc.) involvement. Players had to have played more than 2000 minutes over the season).
Reading goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi is between the sticks and arguably had the best season of his career to date, playing an integral part in his team’s surprising surge up the league and into the play-off final. The 35 year-old stopper was a mainstay in Reading’s team all season, and despite having the worst defensive record of any of the teams in the top six, he seemingly over-performed: An average keeper, faced with the on target attempts aimed at Al-Habsi, would be expected to concede 70 non penalty/non own goals and he conceded just 56 (includes play-offs).
Paul Dummett (Newcastle) and Matt Doherty (Wolves) are the full backs, with the aforementioned being recognised for his defensive work. Dummett played nearly every game for the Championship winners, who conceded only 40 goals in 46 matches, and he himself contributed to a high proportion of the Magpies defensive actions. Doherty is a much more attacking full-back and contributed to 7.9 of Wolves’ total xG, while he even racked up more xGI (expected goal involvement) than some of the top attacking players.
The centre-back pairing of Marc Roberts (Barnsley) and Aden Flint (Bristol City) bring both defensive solidity and attacking threats. Both ranked highly on Infogol’s defensive metrics, and with the number of xG they contributed to their team’s totals, they bring the best of both.
Ryan Woods is the defensive midfielder tasked with protecting the centre-backs, after a successful season at Brentford where he played an integral part in the team both in attack and defence.
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) and Tom Lawrence (Ipswich) are the other central midfielders, with both being selected for their creativity. Shelvey made eight assists last season and was unfortunate not to get more, as his expected assists were one of the highest of any player in the league last season. Lawrence, on-loan from Leicester, helped guide Ipswich to safety with nine goals and nine assists, in what turned out to be a very fruitful campaign.
The wide players, Sone Aluko (Fulham) and Anthony Knockaert (Brighton), were both instrumental in helping their teams achieve their goals. They are widely recognised for their dribbling ability and quick feet, but their xG outputs this season have been very good. Both Aluko (8 goals & 10 assists) and Knockaert (15 goals & 8 assists) finished the season strongly.
Up top is the young Chelsea loanee Tammy Abrahams. He netted 23 times at Bristol City and accrued more xGI (expected goal involvement) than anyone in the league. He was key to Bristol City’s survival and the young man managed to haul them to safety after returning from injury. He is definitely one for the future.
Some players came very close to being in Infogol’s team of the season, so were used as substitutes. They included; Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich – GK), Luke Chambers (Ipswich – Centre Back), Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield – Central Defensive Midfielder), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle – Attacking Midfielder/Winger), Tom Ince (Derby – Winger), Garath McCleary (Reading – Winger) and Chris Wood (Leeds – Striker).