Here's a look at Championship players proving they are invaluable to their current clubs
The data in the Championship is finally starting to get interesting, so now is a good time to review some of the things that we have learned. My last couple of articles have focused on making predictions in the league – and this one is a move away from that.
The concept here is to merely review and report some data and then allow you to draw your own conclusions from it. Of course, I will be offering some insight and opinion of my own as well. What we can say is the players coming up are making very important contributions to their team – and that gives them a great value.
Just to clarify, this is not focused exclusively on strikers – and instead is on any player making a valuable goal contribution. There is no bias here and it is based on what the data is saying – and it is ranked in order of the biggest contribution first. Hopefully, it will be an enjoyable read and lead to plenty of debate.
So, now we have that out of the way – let’s get stuck into it…
1. Bobby Reid (Bristol City) Total Goal Contribution: 67%
Bobby Reid has been at Bristol City for some time, but he has taken his time to become a regular in the side. The 24-year-old is an attack minded midfielder – but he can also play as a forward if needs to. Reid’s start to the season has been a surprise for a lot of people and he has scored four of City’s six goals so far.
This means that the player is now making a 67% contribution to his team’s goal tally, it’s the best record in the Championship. It’s also worth mentioning that Reid has never managed more than a handful of goals in any of his previous seasons. Therefore, this could truly be a breakthrough season for the player in front of goal.
Bristol City have made a decent start to the season and now find themselves in the top-half of the Championship table. However, Reid’s personal achievements may not match his club’s – and I have City down as a club that will struggle once the table settles down a bit. However, it will certainly be interesting to see if that prediction proves to be correct or not.
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2. Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa) Total Goal Contribution: 57%
Conor Hourihane was a Barnsley player at the start of last season and made a real impression on the Championship. In total his contribution included six goals, 11 assists, and an average rating of 7.72 during his time in a Barnsley shirt. However, that form led to him making the move to Aston Villa and he is now looking to make a similar impact in a Villa shirt.
The positive news here is the midfielder has made a great start to the new season and now has an average rating of 7.84. In terms of relevance for this article though he has scored four of Aston Villa’s seven goals, meaning that he is making a contribution of 57%.
We talk about Villa a lot in terms of the forward options they have with players like Scott Hogan and Jonathan Kodjia – but it’s vital the team can find goals from multiple areas – so Hourihane’s form is encouraging. The club, in general, has made a slow start to the season, but there are plenty of reasons to be positive – and I’m tipping them to improve quickly.
3. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Cardiff City) Total Goal Contribution: 50%
Cardiff City have been one of the early pace setters in the Championship this season. Although, their start has surprised a lot of people – I’m happy to say that I did predict this might happen. What’s impressive about the start the Bluebirds have made to the season is there are several star performers in the team.
Here the focus is on winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing who has an average rating of 8.06 and he has contributed four of his team’s eight goals this season. This means that his total goal contribution to his team’s cause is 50%. Mendez-Laing is also a prime example of looking in the lower leagues for talent as the player signed on a free transfer from Rochdale this summer.
That being said, few people can have expected the 25-year-old to make such an immediate impact on the Championship. However, the player was with Wolves as a youngster and has been gradually working his way back to the top of the game. Cardiff will need goals from multiple areas this season – and this player seems keen to do his part.
4. Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) Total Goal Contribution: 50%
Sunderland have made a more positive start to the season than would have been expected – and I still have them down as a big club that will struggle this season. Even among their own fans, expectations are relatively modest after a summer that has been more about selling than buying. The club have been looking for bargains in the transfer market – and it will be interesting to see how successful that strategy proves to be.
One player that the Black Cats have managed to sign is striker Lewis Grabban on loan for the season. The good news is that Grabban has made an instant impact at the start of this season by scoring three of Sunderland’s total goal tally of six. Therefore, the player accounts for 50% of his team’s goals this season.
The 29-year-old has had previous experience of the Championship and that may be part of the reason that the player has made the impact that he has. Previous experience at this level includes time with Bournemouth and Norwich City. The fact that the forward’s second spell with Bournemouth hasn’t worked out, could well be to Sunderland’s advantage over the course of this season.
5. Nelson Oliveira (Norwich City) Total Goals Contribution: 50%
Norwich City have been going through a summer of change and it’s unknown what kind of season they may have. However, there is definitely still a lot of quality players at the club that will give them a great chance of a top six finish.
One of those players is Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira. The forward had a mixed time of it in the Championship last season but will be looking to make a real impact this season. Things have started well for him and he has scored three of Norwich’s total goal tally of six. This means that he provides a goal contribution rate of 50%.
The transfer window is still open and the Canaries know how important it will be to keep hold of this player. There has been some Championship clubs showing an interest in him, so it will be interesting to see what happens. Oliveira though will be focused on securing a regular place in the Norwich team as so far he has only started one league game.
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6. Martyn Waghorn (Ipswich Town) Total Goal Contribution: 44%
Ipswich Town have made a surprisingly good start to the new season, but that is not likely to last for much longer – and the stats are not favourable for them. That’s why I have tipped them to be a team to decline before long.
One player that has been showing what he can do in an Ipswich shirt is Martyn Waghorn though. The player is a new signing at the club following a summer move from Rangers – and he has started the season on fire by scoring four of Ipswich’s total goal tally of nine. This means that he is currently making a goal contribution of 44%.
Waghorn does have previous experience of playing in the Championship with the likes of Leicester and Wigan. However, what’s interesting is his goalscoring record is very poor at this level, so it will be intriguing to see if Waghorn can do what he has never done before. That being said, the player is now 27 – and may have matured enough to make a real impact on the Championship.
This completes the content section for this article as we looked at those players that offer the best goalscoring contribution in the Championship. So, will these players be able to keep making the same impact for the whole season? Let us know which of these players will be able to do that and which will not.
If you enjoy Championship content like this – then keep an eye on my profile page for all the latest updates. Moving forward, I will be covering a wide range of different topics within the Championship. However, there will be a particular focus on keeping things as current as possible using both data and opinion.