Our Sky Bet Championship editor returns to cast his eye over all of the individual player stats from round 26 & 27, picking his top 3 players of the week in the process.
Abel Hernandez – Hull City
The Uruguayan striker was on the form of his life over the course of last week, as he netted 4 times in 2 games at an impressive rate of 35 minutes per goal. Hernandez’s performance against Charlton, in particular, was the one to grab the headlines at the weekend, as a fantastic 39-minute hat-trick ensured his side were out of sight by the break. Although his performance vs. Cardiff wasn’t of the same calibre, Hernandez still provided a strong threat in the attacking third – producing 5 key passes and a 33% shot conversion rate that was rewarded with a well-taken penalty. Three days later, Hernandez hardly put a foot wrong as all of his percentage rates, excluding one, exceeded the 80% mark, the most impressive of those being his shot accuracy – with 5/6 shots troubling the goalkeeper. However, it is the lower of the percentage rates that I believe to have been the striker’s key performance factor from the 6-0 win over Charlton. Attempting 6 shots during the game; Hernandez found the net 50% of the time to earn himself the match ball. The other area worth noting is his accurate pass count, which comfortably exceeded his season’s average in both the Cardiff and Charlton games. Regardless of the goals, these high pass completion rates ultimately help give his side a prolonged presence in the final third, and against Cardiff Hernandez showed that even when not at his best he can still create chances for his teammates. Overall, it was an emphatic week for the Hull City striker who raced to his 14th goal of the season in just 22 appearances – giving him an impressive record of 0.6 goals per game.
Gary Hooper – Sheffield Wednesday
The Norwich loanee was also on target 4 times this week during Sheffield Wednesday’s fixtures against Bolton and Leeds – bagging a brace in both. Although both performances showed signs of brilliance, it was against Bolton that Hooper really excelled. Hooper was tidy in front of goal, converting 33% (2) of his 6 shots whilst also finding the target on 3 occasions, but in this instance, it was his superb link-up play that I want to draw particular attention to. In terms of passing, Hooper was highly efficient as he completed 22 accurate passes and 2 key passes at a completion rate of 92%. His 14th-minute assist of Fernando Forestieri’s goal was a perfect example of the English strikers creative qualities. On top of this, flawless dribble and aerial duel success rates provided Wednesday with an effective presence in the final third, an outlet that proved valuable by the final whistle with Hooper involved in all 3 goals in the 3-2 win. As you can see pictured below, Hooper’s link-up play was similarly brilliant against Leeds and despite a slightly lower pass completion rate, he managed more key passes, which in combination with his 50% conversion rate made him a constant threat in the final third. When comparing Hooper’s triumphant week in front of goal to his 2015/16 average stats, it is clear to see why I was so impressed with the 27-year old over the past week. His shot count, in combination with his conversion rate, shows the Wednesday striker attempting well over twice as many shots than average whilst comfortably achieving a better conversion rate in both games. The basic elements to his game shouldn’t be overlooked, however, as Hooper delivered more accurate passes and key passes than his usual average – proving his worth as one of the best players this week.
Sam Clucas – Hull City
Hull City’s left-midfielder continued to show how much of an important player he is to his team last week, as he contributed to 3 of Hull’s 8 goals over the 2 matches. Clucas’ performances against Cardiff and Charlton were reasonably similar, but I want to focus my attention on his role in the 6-0 win vs Charlton in which he assisted the second and third goal. Although on the scoresheet against Cardiff earlier in the week, Clucas was very much the provider on Saturday as he produced 54 accurate passes and 3 key passes; leading to 2 assists and an overall pass completion rate of 84 percent. With a bit more finesse on the day, Clucas would have found himself amongst the goals. As a wide midfielder, essential skills involve dribbling and crossing – skills that Clucas showed he was more than capable of excelling in during these 2 matches. Delivering 10 crosses and racking up an average dribble success of 90% – these are stats any wide midfielder would be proud. I’ve highlighted 2 key areas from Clucas’ defensive contributions over the 2 games as I believe these were key factors to his overall performance. A total of 3 interceptions in both games more than surpassed his average per game this season and it provided his team with counter-attacking opportunities, whilst high tackle success rates show that he is more than capable of doing the business at both ends of the pitch. Overall, it was Clucas’ chance creation which made him stand out of the crowd this week and with the 2 assists against Charlton he now sits top of the assist table for 2015/16.
*stats sourced from whoscored.com