After five games in the Championship, it seems sensible to review some of the star performers this season. For this piece, we will be looking at the top creative players in the league so far, the main criteria we are using for this article is key passes – and assists to a lesser extent.
In this content, the data decides – so there is no particular focus towards bigger or smaller clubs in the league. Therefore, general fans of the Championship, as well as fans of the clubs/players mentioned are sure to enjoy this.
Even though the content is data based, I will be offering my own insight and opinion as well – and there will be plenty of debate about the players chosen. It will certainly be interesting to see how consistent these players prove to over the course of the season – and whether or not these creative players remain the best come the end of the season.
So, now we have that out of the way – let’s get stuck into our options…
1. Tom Cairney (Fulham) Key Passes Per Game: 3
Fulham have made a slower start to the new season than would have been expected – and they currently sit in the bottom half of the table with just one win from their first five games. However, there are plenty of signs that there is plenty of room for improvement this season. One of those factors is the fact that their passing game hasn’t quite come together just yet.
One of the players that is key to Fulham’s game is attacking midfielder Tom Cairney – who was a standout player in the Championship last year. Those stats included 13 goals, 10 assists and an average rating of 7.37. Clearly, the player will be looking to make a similar impact this season as well.
Cairney has yet to provide a goal or an assist – but he has still made a decent start to the season. The player’s stats this season includes 2.3 shots, 3 key passes per game and an average rating of 6.92. I remain confident that Fulham will have a good season – and I’m predicting a top six finish for them.
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2. Jamie Paterson (Bristol City) Key Passes Per Game: 2.8
Jamie Paterson is a winger who has been operating on the left side for Bristol City this season. The 25-year-old didn’t make a massive attacking impact with his club last season, but the early signs would suggest that it could be his year.
In terms of those stats, he has scored one goal, provided 2.8 key passes, along with an average rating of 6.99. Bristol City were tipped to struggle by various people ahead of the season, but they have started the season reasonably well.
The player has some good prior experience with the likes of Walsall and Nottingham Forest in League One and the Championship – and will be looking to provide assists and goals this season. I still predict that this season will be tough for City though – and they are likely to see their campaign go downhill from here.
3. Samuel Saiz (Leeds United) Key Passes Per Game: 2.8
In theory, Leeds United are one of the biggest clubs in the Championship – and they have a rich history as well. Part of that history has included winning three top-flight titles. The club made a massive step forward in the Championship by finishing in the top eight last season.
Garry Monk has since moved on to take charge of Middlesbrough – and it will be interesting to see how the club reacts from now on. The early signs have been positive for the club this season – and they currently sit in a top six position in the league.
One player that has been performing well for them this season is Spanish forward Samuel Saiz. The player’s stats from this season are one goal, one assist, 2.8 key passes per game and an average rating of 7.10. The 26-year-old has big shoes to fill though following the departure of Chris Wood to Burnley.
4. Adam Hammill (Barnsley) Key Passes Per Game: 2.6
Barnsley are an interesting club at Championship level – and are one worth keeping an eye on over the coming seasons. One of the major reasons I’m saying that Is the fact that they are currently operating with the lowest average age in the league.
However, it will take time for this squad to develop – and Barnsley fans must be prepared to be patient. In the meantime, they will still be reliant on some experienced players in the interim period. One of those is winger Adam Hammill – who started his career with Liverpool.
The 29-year-old has been a standout attacking playerin the Championship this season. Those all-important stats include 2.6 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per game, as well as an average rating of 7.31. Although the player has yet to contribute either goals or assists – it’s quite clear that he will be a leading performer this season.
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5. Barrie McKay (Nottingham Forest) Key Passes Per Game: 2.6
Nottingham Forest have made a positive start to the season – and they are currently in the top six of the Championship. However, it’s likely that the club’s success will be short-lived this season. In fact, I mentioned Forest as a team to struggle earlier in the season.
One player that has been excelling for Forest so far this season is winger Barrie McKay. The Scot joined the club this summer from Rangers and has made an instant impact. Those key stats included two goals, two assists. 2.6 key passes and 3.2 dribbles per game, as well as an average rating of 7.48.Forest fans should be excited about what they have seen from the player so far. Let’s remember that key passes is the principle stat here. However, McKay has managed to provide some very good end product as well. The fact that he is only 22 suggests that he may well continue to improve in the coming seasons.
6. Kamil Grosicki (Hull City) Key Passes Per Game: 2.6
Hull City are an interesting club and it will be intriguing to see how they will get on in the Championship this season. The club have started the season reasonably well – but there are certainly problems behind the scenes. In fact, I don’t see their manager still being in a job beyond Christmas.
One player that is excelling for them right now is Polish winger Kamil Grosicki. The 29-year-old’s key stats are two goals, three assists. 2.8 shots and 2.6 key passes per game, as well as an average rating of 7.73.
Making the transition from the Premier League to the Championship can be tough for a lot of teams. It’s early days for Hull, but Grosicki certainly is a player of real quality that they will be keen to keep hold of. It’s interesting as well that the player’s lack of experience within the English leagues is not going against him. However, the fact that they signed the player last season might be a factor in that.
This completes the end of the content section for this article as we looked at five players that have been at their creative best so far this season. So, did we get this right? Or maybe you feel there are creative players that are more deserving of a place on this list.
If you enjoy Championship content like this, then keep an eye on my profile page for all the latest updates. Next, I will be looking at more predictive articles – and also take a closer look at Cardiff’s success so far this season.