With an all new feature, our Sky Bet Championship editor (@EN_Championship) returns to select his team of the week from round 38 of fixtures. In addition to this, a list of the top 3 players will also be chosen for further analysis.
Round 38 – Team of the Week
GK | Dimi Konstantopoulos – Middlesbrough
RB | Dominic Iorfa – Wolves
CB | Tom Lees – Sheffield Wednesday
CB | Tomas Kalas – Middlesbrough
LB | Markus Olsson – Derby
RM | Lee Tomlin – Bristol City
CM | Joe Bryan – Bristol City
CM | Alejandro Faurlin – QPR
LM | Albert Adomah – Middlesbrough
ST | Fernando Forestieri – Sheffield Wednesday
ST | Tomer Hemed – Brighton
Top 3 Players
Fernando Forestieri – Sheffield Wednesday
The Argentinean forward has been one of the Championship’s stand-out players this season since joining from Watford last year. Against Charlton on Saturday, Forestieri continued to show his class – scoring Wednesday’s 2nd on the day and his 13th goal of the season in the process. Although contribution to goals has been his biggest asset this campaign, Forestieri made an impact all over the pitch vs Charlton – barely putting a foot wrong in terms of statistics.
Despite the goal being a key factor to Forestieri’s performance, the striker will have finished the game slightly disappointed that he didn’t score more. Attempting a total of 7 shots, Forestieri managed to direct 4 of them on target to earn a shot accuracy of 57% and subsequent shot conversion rate of 14%.
Statistically, Forestieri’s passing performance was arguably his strongest area at the weekend. From 37 attempted passes the 26-year old completed 33 accurate passes at a completion rate of just over 89%. Amongst these 33 passes, Forestieri completed 4 key passes as well 100% of his 3 attempted long balls – highlighting the quality of his chance creation as well as goal-scoring ability.
The Owls forward further showcased his versatility through the individual areas of his game – in this instance dribbling. During the 90-minutes vs Charlton, Forestieri completed 100% of his 2 attempted dribbles whilst winning 6 fouls in the process – making him a tricky customer for the visitors defence.
Lastly, I want to touch on Forestieri’s off-the-ball contribution on Saturday which ultimately rounded off his dominant performance. With 8 attempted tackles on the day, Forestieri had completed 7 successful tackles by the final whistle – at least 2 more successful tackles than any other player.
Comparing the performance vs Charlton to his stats for 2015/16 it is clear to see that Forestieri was well above par on Saturday. In particular, his chance creation impressed most, with four times as many key passes recorded than average at the weekend. Whilst 6 ‘fouls won’ also blitzed his typical fouled per game count (2.2).
However, it’s ultimately Forestieri’s efficiency in front of goal which impresses most, as the Wednesday striker now boasts a goal/assist every 132 minutes of action. This is perhaps not that much of a surprise when you consider that he currently sits top of the league rankings for average shots on target per game with 1.5. Meanwhile, in terms of goals scored, only 3 players have netted more from outside of the box than Forestieri (McCormack, Judge & Huws), with Abel Hernandez the only player to record more goals from inside the 6-yard box.
Joe Bryan – Bristol City
The Bristol City academy product was one of the several stars in the Robins’ emphatic 6-0 thumping of Bolton at the weekend. Although more commonly known as a left-sided player, Bryan featured in a central defensive midfield role on Saturday – his 3rd appearance in this position in 2015/16. But the 22-year old by no means struggled in this unfamiliar environment, as he produced a quality performance that was rounded off with a well-deserved assist (Jonathan Kodjia goal).
One glance at his defensive stats vs Bolton and it is clear to see why the Robins boss deployed Bryan in the holding midfielder role. In terms of tackling, Bryan completed both of his attempted tackles on the day – giving him a 100% success rate for the 90 minutes. When considering that Bryan also completed 3 interceptions and successfully won all of his defensive aerial duels, it is fair to say that his contributions in defence were a factor to City’s clean sheet.
Bryan’s passing performance also contributed to his impressive midfield performance. His overall pass completion rate of 75% vs Bolton consisted of 30 accurate passes and 2 key passes – one of which being his 6th assist of the season. Whilst the finer details included a 60% long ball accuracy with 6/10 of attempted long balls finding their target.
As previously mentioned, Bryan is a wide player by trade and has made 20 appearances on the left flank this season. But considering that he has registered a third of his total assists from just 3 games as a holding midfielder, the Bristol City youngster appears to be acclimatising to the central role.
To compare Bryan’s performance on Saturday to all of his average stats for 2015/16 would be an inaccurate representation due to the variety of positions he has played. But the defensive elements, however, can be compared and Bryan comfortably surpassed these averages with twice as many interceptions and a 100% tackle success. Bryan also displayed the ability to transfer his skills as a left-sided player into the centre of the park – a 100% dribble success more than doubling his 2015/16 average.
Whilst he hasn’t been a stand-out player for Bristol City this season, Bryan’s youth and energy levels have certainly been an important aspect of the team. And when considering that Bryan currently boasts the most tackles per game amongst City players, it is perhaps no surprise that Lee Johnson wants to utilise his services in the middle of the park.
Markus Olsson – Derby
The January arrival was Derby’s hero in the East Midlands face-off, as he scored his first goal of the season to steer The Rams home as 1-0 victors. As well as scoring with his only shot of the game, Olsson had a near faultless performance overall in what was just his 9th appearance in a Derby shirt.
As expected, Olsson was most effective in the defensive areas for the home side, as he completed all 4 of his attempted tackles successfully – achieving a 100% tackle success as a result. His other defensive contributions included 3 clearances and 1 interception whilst also winning 3/3 aerial duels – making him a tough player to beat on the day.
Despite a reasonably quiet game in terms of passing, the Swedish left-back was tidy nonetheless. Completing 16 accurate passes as well as 1 key pass overall; Olsson finished the game with a pass completion rate of just over 76%.
Although only performing above average in 6/10 areas selected below, this shouldn’t discredit Olsson’s performance as a whole. Especially when considering that he was substantially more effective in terms of chance creation and goals scored in comparison to his 2015/16 averages, whilst also improving his average tackle success in the process. It is also worth considering that Olsson made 20 appearances for Blackburn in the Championship before moving to Derby so his current average stats won’t necessarily reflect the form at his new club.
Nevertheless, it appears as though Derby have found an upgrade on their previous left-back Stephen Warnock, with the new boy gaining an instant backing from the fans after his derby day heroics.
*stats sourced from whoscored.com