Our Sky Bet Championship editor returns to select his top 3 players of the week from round 33 & 34 of England’s second tier.
Tomer Hemed – Brighton & Hove Albion
The Israeli forward was the standout player in a packed week of fixtures, as he starred in both of Brighton’s convincing 4-0 wins over Bristol City and Leeds. Hemed’s most effective contribution during both games was no doubt his direct involvement in goals – with 3 goals and 2 assists to his name over the 2 game period.
It was against Leeds, however, that Hemed really showcased his ability in front of goal as he scored with both of his attempted shots during the game – taking his tally to 11 goals for the season. Hemed was also on target against Bristol City earlier in the week but was far less efficient on this occasion – achieving a shot accuracy of just 33%.
Whilst prolific in front of goal against Leeds, it was Hemed’s chance creation which impressed vs Bristol City. Over the course of his 83-minute appearance, Hemed created 4 chances for his side in the form of 2 key passes and more importantly 2 assists. Despite not claiming an assist vs Leeds, it was still a tidy passing performance from the 28-year-old with a 75% pass completion and 3 key passes to his name on the night.
Looking at Tomer Hemed’s week as a collective, it is no coincidence that Brighton were victorious in such convincing fashion on both occasions. The Israeli international created 7 chances and scored 3 goals in just 159 minutes of action – that’s a goal every 53 minutes with a chance created every 23.
As you can see in the table below, asides from goals and chances created, Hemed didn’t blow the world away with the other areas of his performance. It is a striker’s job to score goals, however, and his 100% conversion rate achieved vs Leeds will certainly be a promising sign to Chris Hughton and the Brighton fans as the season enters the home straight. In terms of comparison to his average stats, it is as you’d expect – Hemed performing comfortably above average on goals, assists, and key passes during round 33 and 34 of fixtures.
Yann Kermorgant – Reading
Yann Kermorgant was in blistering form over the course of last week as Reading picked up back to back wins – with the Frenchman bagging a brace against his former club to open his account. During the mid-week game against Rotherham and 7 goal thriller away to Charlton, Kermorgant caused problems for both defences – finishing the week with 2 assists and 2 goals to his name.
Of the two matches, Charlton was the one that Kermorgant dominated in as he returned to his old stomping ground. It was a very happy return too, with Reading’s front man hardly putting a foot wrong on the day. From a striker’s point of view, Kermorgant’s efficiency in front of goal was highly impressive – hitting the target with all 3 of his attempted shots and scoring 2 goals in the process.
Kermorgant’s passing performance is not to be ignored, however, as the 34-year-old completed 32 accurate passes and boasted flawless long ball accuracy on the day. In particular, his chance creation vs Charlton stands out, with 3 key passes and 1 assist making him a constant threat for the hosts. Similarly, against Rotherham Kermorgant’s link-up play was a joy to behold with 3 chances created including the assist for the only goal of the game.
One area of Kermorgant’s game that deserves a special mention is his aerial presence, which he used to great effect. Despite a large number of aerial duels that he was involved in, Kermorgant still prevailed with high success rates of 71% and 80% against Rotherham and Charlton, respectively. The striker won 23 out of 31 aerial duels overall during round 33 and 34 of fixtures.
Having only made 5 appearances in a Reading shirt since joining in January, it is tricky to make comparisons to his 2015/16 stats. But it is clear to see that Kermorgant’s performance vs Charlton was his best in a Reading shirt as he directly contributed to 3 of his team’s 4 goals on the day in a narrow 4-3 win. In terms of league rankings, however, Kermorgant sits 24th in terms of aerial duels with 54 successful duels won (strikers only) – trailing the likes of Derby skipper Chris Martin by just 31 duels despite having played 2,240 minutes less.
Albert Adomah – Middlesbrough
The 28-year-old once again highlighted the importance of his role in Middlesbrough’s push for promotion during last week’s fixtures – showcasing his all-around ability and chance creation in particular. Although Adomah contributed to a total of 2 goals in the fixtures against Cardiff and Fulham, it was ultimately his passing performances which impressed most.
In the 3-1 win over Cardiff, Adomah’s chance creation was the standout statistic as he delivered 5 key passes as well as assisting David Nugent’s 83rd-minute goal. This being said, his passing stats in general vs Cardiff were also impressive. Adomah managed to complete 81% of his attempted passes with a 75% and 44% long ball and cross accuracy, respectively.
Adomah’s defensive contribution during mid-week is also worth mentioning, as the winger successfully completed 6 tackles during the 90 minutes – at least three times more than any other Middlesbrough player on the night. Similarly, Adomah’s defensive efforts vs Fulham were equally impressive with 3 successful tackles and a 75% tackle success rate making him Boro’s most efficient tackler on the day. It was against Fulham, however, that the number of interceptions was also on par with the Ghanaian’s tackling – completing 4 interceptions – Adam Forshaw was the only player more effective in this area for the away side.
Despite the performance against Fulham being statistically weaker, Adomah’s presence in various areas of the pitch made him one of Boro’s biggest threats on the day. His 3rd-minute goal was a prime example of this, as he latched onto a Stewart Downing cross to get his side off to a flying start. Unlike the Cardiff game, Adomah also managed to test the keeper vs Fulham – racking up a 50% shot accuracy overall.
In comparison to Adomah’s 2015/16 average stats, there are certain areas of the performances vs Cardiff and Fulham that were well above standard for the winger. In particular, his attacking passing vs Cardiff was most impressive with Adomah’s 44% cross accuracy (4 accurate crosses) and 75% long ball accuracy comfortably surpassing his 26% and 36% averages, respectively. Whilst in terms of key passes, Adomah delivered over 3 three times his average vs Cardiff. Against Fulham, Adomah’s biggest asset was his ability to read the game – his 4 interceptions being four times higher than his seasonal average. Finally, Adomah remarkably continued his efficiency in the tackling department and as a result currently sits 2nd in the league’s tackling ranks (amongst attacking players) having completed 63 tackles in the Championship this season – trailing only to Birmingham’s Jacques Maghoma.