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Championship stats XI: Who are the highest-rated players this season?

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16: Anthony Knockaert of Brighton and Hove Albion celebrates scoring his sides first goal with team mate Gaetan Bong of Brighton
Image: Anthony Knockaert makes the highest-rated XI

With less than six weeks remaining in the Sky Bet Championship season, theteam of the year has already been announced

However, how would the team shape up based on statistics?

We've asked to reveal their best XI of the campaign based on their unique rating system, with over 15 starts in each player's allocated position set as a requirement. Here's who makes the XI...

Ali Al-Habsi (Reading) - 7.04

While the Oman international can be erratic at times, he's produced some outstanding displays this season and played a pivotal role in Reading's play-off push. Only Barnsley's Adam Davies has produced more stops than the 35-year old this season (138), with a save success rate of 73.7 per cent also enough to rank second in the league to Newcastle's Karl Darlow (73.9 per cent) - who has been forced into action half as often (67 saves).

Cyrus Christie (Derby) - 7.19

He may have missed over two months of the season through injury, but in his 24 league appearances Christie has once again proved why he is one of the highest rated full-backs in the Championship. While the Rams' fortunes actually improved during the right-back's absence, his impact on the defence is highlighted by the fact that Derby have conceded less than a goal per game (0.91) when he has started compared to 1.13 when he hasn't. Moreover, he has created more chances per game (1.5) than any full-back in the league.

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Lewis Dunk (Brighton) - 7.61

Dunk has long been touted with a Premier League move but thanks to his own efforts this season the commanding centre-back looks likely to get his top-flight chance with Brighton. The Seagulls are a point behind league leaders Newcastle and are also second to the Magpies in terms of goals conceded this season (33). Dunk, 25, has played a significant role in that, ranking fourth in the league for interceptions per game (3.2) while boasting solid numbers for both aerial duels won (4.4) and clearances (7.2) per game.

Pontus Jansson (Leeds) - 7.58

When it comes to centre-backs that have been decisive for their side this season, Jansson immediately springs to mind having won the hearts of the Leeds faithful with his committed displays. The Swedish international - on loan from Torino - has scored three goals to directly earn the Leeds five points this season and is among the top 10 for clearances (9.7) and second for blocks (1.3) per game in the Championship.

Leeds' Pontus Jansson celebrates after Tim Ream's own goal at Craven Cottage
Image: Pontus Jansson has been a hit at Leeds

Andy Yiadom (Barnsley) - 7.25

With 16 of his 30 league starts coming on the left, Barnsley full-back Yiadom takes that spot in the best XI after a very impressive debut season at this level. The 25-year-old has three assists to his name and his threat going forward has been a real outlet for the Tykes. Yiadom has averaged the most dribbles per game of any full-back (1.9), while remaining vigilant defensively with 2.2 tackles per game, having been dribbled past just 0.5 times per game.

Anthony Knockaert (Brighton) - 7.68

The highest-rated player in the Championship this season, Knockaert has been sensational in the face of personal tragedy off the pitch after his father died in November. The Frenchman is a firm favourite at Brighton and understandably so, with his dazzling dribbling allied by a quality end product from wide areas. The 25-year old is one of only three players to complete over 100 dribbles in the league and has had a direct hand in 20 goals in the Seagulls' title bid (13 goals, seven assists).

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18:  Anthony Knockaert of Brighton in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Wolverham
Image: Anthony Knockaert is the highest-rated player in the Championship

Conor Hourihane (Barnsley/Aston Villa) - 7.48

Aston Villa were determined to seal a deal for Hourihane in January, and it isn't hard to see why. While the 26-year-old hasn't yet reached the standards he set at Barnsley, his influence and popularity in the Midlands is growing due to his all-action approach. A dead-ball specialist, Hourihane leads the league in assists this season - with 11 of 13 coming prior to his Villa Park switch - while he has found the net seven times and averages an impressive 2.6 tackles per game.

Tom Cairney (Fulham) - 7.41

Fulham have become something of a neutral's favourite in the Championship due to their attractive, possession-based approach and Cairney is absolutely pivotal to that. The fact that the Cottagers secured his services from Blackburn could certainly be considered a coup and while Premier League interest didn't surface at the time it surely will this summer. The 26-year-old is one shy of double figures for both goals and assists and his composure in possession at this level is unrivalled, with a sensational league-high pass accuracy of 92.4 per cent.

Tom Cairney
Image: Tom Cairney has been in fine form for Fulham

Matt Ritchie (Newcastle) - 7.22

The only Newcastle man in the XI, perhaps proving that their success has been built on the strength of their squad as opposed to a handful of individuals. Few were in doubt that Ritchie would be a shrewd acquisition when he signed from Bournemouth last summer. Proven at Championship level in terms of both scoring and creating goals - he has nine and seven respectively this season - the Scotland international couples his technical ability with the sort of commendable work-rate off the ball that is required in order to help earn promotion from the second tier.

Yann Kermorgant (Reading) - 7.28

If Reading are to cement a play-off finish this season they'll owe as much to the hold up play of Kermorgant as to his 10 goals thus far. However, while that may seem a modest return it's been enough to directly earn the Royals nine points this season, while his three assists have all come in victories secured by a single goal. Moreover, the 35-year-old has won the most aerial duels per game (5.8) of any forward this season and created a chance per game.

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Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) - 7.18

A return of one goal every two games (15 in 30) may not be the best in the league but in terms of his importance to his side Kodjia is right up there given Villa's struggles in front of goal. The Ivory Coast international's return has accounted for 38% of Bruce's sides total tally, with 11 of his strikes representing Villa's only goals in said games. Meanwhile, no Championship striker has completed more dribbles per game (2.0) than the livewire 27-year-old.

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