Sky Bet Championship best stats XI of September
By Martin Laurence, Whoscored.com
Last Updated: 04/10/17 5:36pm
The Sky Bet Championship is starting to take shape following a packed September schedule, with the table beginning to reflect what many would have expected at this stage.
It's been a very productive few weeks for a number of clubs and there have certainly been some standout performers in that time, with WhoScored.com revealing the team of the month using their unique statistical ratings...
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Goalkeeper: Sam Johnstone (Aston Villa)
After six games, five clean sheets and just one goal conceded there can be no arguing with Johnstone's place between the posts. The progress he made after a slow start upon his arrival has continued this season, with the Manchester United loanee now keeping the most clean sheets in the Championship this calendar year (13) and boasting the best save success rate in the current campaign (79.6 per cent). His WhoScored.com rating for September was 7.23.
Right-back: Cyrus Christie (Middlesbrough)
Christie's arrival from Derby always looked likely to be a strong acquisition for Boro and the full-back has certainly not disappointed. The 25-year-old registered an assist in a 3-2 win over QPR last month and followed that up with a late leveller at Fulham, showcasing his threat going forwards. Indeed, it's Christie's ability in possession that is unquestionably his greatest asset, completing 17 dribbles and creating 6 chances for a rating of 7.57 last month.
Centre-back: Aden Flint (Bristol City)
After a distracting summer of transfer rumours, the closure of the window has been a real blessing for both Bristol City and Aden Flint as far as the centre-back is concerned. Reinstated back into the side in September, the 28-year-old strengthened his reputation as a real source of goals from set-pieces in particular, scoring three times in six starts. With strikes in 1-0 and 2-0 victories over Reading and Bolton as well as a 3-3 draw with Wolves, he was key to the Robins' rise, earning a rating of 7.75.
Centre-back: Pontus Jansson (Leeds)
Jansson endeared himself to the Leeds support immediately last season and was subject of plenty of interest over the summer but stayed put to the relief of the fans. He's picked up where he left off, and while the Whites surrendered top spot, their latest defeat came in October, with Jansson playing just four times in September as a result. From said outings he impressed as Leeds beat Burton and Birmingham, 5-0 and 2-0 respectively, averaging the most clearances per game (11.8) by a distance last month, securing a rating of 7.67 for his efforts.
Left-back: Adam Reach (Sheffield Wednesday)
September may have been hit and miss for Wednesday as a whole but Adam Reach was a consistent performer throughout from left-back. The 24-year-old starred in victories over Forest and Brentford - earning the WhoScored.com man of the match in each - before registering his second and third assists of the season against high-flying Cardiff and fierce rivals Sheffield United. With 1.8 key passes and 4.6 tackles per game - the latter enough to rank second in September - Reach's statistical rating was 7.55.
Right wing: Tom Barkhuizen (Preston)
Since arriving from Morecambe at the turn of the year, Tom Barkhuizen has taken to Championship football with consummate ease to become a real favourite at Preston. After a slow start to the current campaign, the 24-year-old was back to his best last month, registering three assists and scoring twice, earning the WhoScored.com man of the match award in victories at Birmingham and Hull. Only two players had a direct hand in more goals in September, with the winger earning a rating of 7.54 as a result.
Central midfield: Shaun Williams (Millwall)
September was a decent month for newly-promoted Millwall, whose defeat in their final match against Barnsley highlighted the absent Shaun Williams' importance to the side. Indeed, while George Saville has rightly drawn plaudits alongside him at the heart of the Lions' midfield, the 30-year-old has been extremely solid, picking up crucial assists in a draw at QPR and win over Reading. Averages of 2.4 key passes and 2.2 tackles per game highlighted his strength both in and out of possession and contributed to a rating of 7.71.
Central midfield: Luke Freeman (QPR)
It's been a very impressive start to the season from QPR's Luke Freeman, who has impressed since his arrival from Bristol City in January. The 25-year-old scored twice last month, directly earning his side three points with a goal in a 2-1 victory over Ipswich and 1-1 draw at Barnsley, while registering an assist to boot. With no player creating more chances in September (18), and only a handful completing more dribbles (16), the midfielder earned the joint-highest WhoScored.com rating in the Championship, with a score of 7.78.
Left wing: Ollie Watkins (Brentford)
There's no escaping the fact that it's been a bitterly disappointing start for Brentford but they showed signs that they were capable of climbing the table significantly last month, with youngster Ollie Watkins a key spark to that hope. The 21-year-old took his league tally to four with strikes in three consecutive matches, including the club's solitary win of the campaign over Bolton. He's now had a direct hand in Brentford's last four goals in total, scoring in a 1-1 draw with Derby and another, along with an assist, in a 2-2 draw at Boro. His rating for such an integral role was 7.75.
Striker: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Leeds)
A late arrival in the transfer window on loan from Hamburg, Lasogga made an immediate impact at Leeds with two goals and assist in a 5-0 rout over Burton, earning a perfect 10 WhoScored.com rating on his debut for the club. While the German may not have hit the same heights since it's still been a strong start to life at Elland Road, registering an assist in victory over Birmingham and scoring in a 3-2 win over Ipswich. With 3.5 shots and 1.2 key passes per game, the 25-year-old secured a rating of 7.59 across four appearances in September.
Striker: Joe Garner (Ipswich)
Ipswich have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far and crucial to that has been the speed with which their new signings have settled at the club. Striker Joe Garner has instantly become key to their approach, with one goal and an assist in five appearances last month. However, it is the aerial threat he provides that has been a great outlet for a makeshift back line at times, knowing they can go direct and allow players to work off him. A huge average of 9.6 aerial duels won per game was a league high last month and earned Garner a rating of 7.68.