It has just been released, the PFA (tweet – below) has released their official Team of the Year for the Sky Bet Championship and, in reality, it contains few surprises.
The PFA have gone for that traditional of all traditional 4-4-2 formations to accommodate the side that they think sparkled over the course of the season, staring with a dependable goalkeeper and ending with two prolific strikers.
— PFA (@PFA) April 20, 2017
In at the back is Brighton’s reliable stopper David Stockdale, one of four players from already promoted Brighton. Stockdale has made 38 appearances for the Seagulls over the course of their 2016/17 campaign that has led to promotion to the Premier League, conceding just 34 goals and keeping a remarkable 18 clean sheets. He has also made 86 saves in total this season.
Left-back: Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham): the uber talented youngster isn’t even 17 yet, so he cannot sign a professional deal at a club where he is having a standout season for Fulham. The young starlet has scored five goals this season, showing a willingness to get forward and into the opposition box, where all five of his goals have been scored from. Over the course of this season, youngster Sessegnon has made 11 interceptions, blocked two shots, made 46 clearances and has made 25 tackles.
Central Defender: Jamaal Lascelle (Newcastle): Lascelles has been nothing if not dependable at the back for Newcastle this season, helping to give a solid base that the Magpies can rely on. The towering centre-back has scored three times for Newcastle this season in the 42 appearances that he has made. He has made 22 tackles over the season, completing 40% of his tackle attempts successfully and has won 160 headed duels against opposing players. He has also made 51 interceptions, blocked 19 shots and made 372 clearances.
Central Defender: Lewis Dunk (Brighton): Highly rated Dunk has been a defensive mainstay for Brighton not only in this campaign but also across previous seasons. He has shown his strength in making 118 interceptions, blocking 38 shots and making 274 clearances for the Seagulls. Across his 36 appearances, the rangy defender has scored two goals, whilst also making 40 tackles and winning 139 contested headed balls.
Right-back: Bruno (Brighton): the Seagulls make up 3/5 of the PFA’s back five, with Spanish right-back being the third Brighton player chosen at the back. The Spaniard has been solid at the back for Brighton in their promotion campaign, completing 70 interceptions, blocking 12 shots, and making 115 clearances. When it comes to contesting the ball with opponents, Bruno has made 30 tackles over the season, completing 38% of his attempts and winning 51 headers.
Left Midfield: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle): Shelvey was one of the big-buy names who stuck with Newcastle United this season, despite their relegation to the Championship. That decision has paid dividends for Newcastle with the former Liverpool player being one of the division’s stand-out players. Featuring in 39 games for the Magpies, Shelvey has scored five goals, whilst also adding eight assists – all the while maintaining a pass accuracy of 79% with 1,522 successful passes. Shelvey has also made 83 key passes where his final ball has set up a teammate shot at goal – meaning that 5.45% of his completed passes lead to chances.
Central Midfield: Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town): Mooy join the Terriers on loan from Premier League giants Manchester City, who had bought him from their Australian franchise club Melbourne City and sent him straight out on loan. The bald-headed Australian international has really left his stamp on the Championship, his displays showing the class that Manchester City bought him for. The defensive-minded midfielder has completed 2,268 passes at a more than decent 83% accuracy. Mooy has contributed three goals this season to the Huddersfield cause, as well as adding six assists. Mooy has also made 86 key passes where his final ball has set up a teammate shot at goal – meaning that 3.80% of his completed passes lead to chances.
Central Midfield: Anthony Knockaert (Brighton): Knockaert is already lauded as the EFL’s Championship Player of the Year after a season where his goals and general play have been a driving force behind Brighton’s consistent success. The French attacking midfielder has 15 goals to his name this season, as well as five assists in his 38 games. Pass-wise, he has completed 920 passes at 82% accuracy, as well as making 73 key passes. Knockaert’s 73 key passes, where his final ball has set up a teammate shot at goal – means that 7.9% of his completed passes lead to chances for fellow Brighton players.
Right Midfield: Tom Cairney (Fulham): Cairney is another player who is having a fantastic season in the Championship and turning heads. A look at his passing will tell you why, the youngster completing 2,811 passes at an eye-watering 92% accuracy. 95 of these passes have been key passes leading to a Fulham chance, meaning that 3.3% of his completed passes end as attempts at goal for others. Cairney has also weighed in with 10 goals and 10 assists this season to help Fulham into the play-off places.
Striker: Dwight Gayle (Newcastle): Gayle was Newcastle’s insurance buy to get out of the Championship at the first time of asking, and he’s helped them do just that…nearly. Across 31 appearances, the former Crystal Palace forward has 22 goals to his name as well as two assists. In front of goal Dwight Gayle has been deadly accurate with 68% of his total shots (87) being on target – meaning that he’s worked the keeper 59 times. His 22 goals from 59 shots on-target mean that his conversion rate is around 37%.
Striker Chris Wood (Leeds United): Leeds United’s Wood has been a revelation in front of goal for the Whites this season, scoring a league-leading 25 goals and providing three assists. Wood’s strength and aerial power has worried many a central defence this season and has helped him work shooting opportunities. Wood has taken 99 shots so far this season at an accuracy of 53%, meaning he’s had 52 shots on target that have worked the keeper. His 25 goals from 52 shots on-target mean that his conversion rate is around 48%.