Tuesday 7 May 2019 06:24, UK
With the regular Championship season over and the playoffs looming, WhoScored.com take a look at their team of the season.
Another entertaining season of football is coming to an end - and here is the WhoScored.com Championship Team of the Season…
Kick-starting this XI is Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, who returned a WhoScored.com rating of 6.77 this season. The 32-year-old's final appearance of the campaign came in a man-of-the-match display at QPR; and having kept the fourth most clean sheets (15), made the third most saves (140), and the second most successful high ball claims (34) this season, the Romanian warrants his spot in this XI.
Chelsea fans will be delighted to see Reece James make the grade in this XI after a splendid loan stint with Wigan Athletic, where he achieved a WhoScored.com rating of 7.10. The 19-year-old impressed at right-back, and was solid when called upon in midfield, as he won the joint-third most WhoScored.com man of the match awards (7). Only one player made more crosses from open play than the teenager (45), which reinforces a WhoScored.com strength of 'crossing' and secures his place in the team of the season.
Leeds ended the season poorly, and they'll need to up their game for the playoffs. However, Liam Cooper did enough over the season to earn his place in the Championship best XI, with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.30. The 27-year-old averaged more passes per game (67.6) than any other defender in the Championship this season, while averages of four accurate long balls, 3.9 clearances, and 2.4 interceptions per game was enough to land his notable rating.
While Leeds did enough to get over the play-off line, Bristol City missed out by just four points. That said, it was a fine campaign for Robins centre-back Adam Webster, who partners Cooper at the heart of the defence. The 24-year-old ranked second for interceptions (91) and third for forward passes (1232) in the Championship this season as his ability to read the game and set Bristol on the front foot going forward shone through, and, like Cooper, earned him a WhoScored.com rating of 7.30.
Rounding off the defence is Birmingham City's Kristian Pedersen, who returned a WhoScored.com rating of 7.09. The Dane made more interceptions (105) than any other player in the Championship this season to reinforce a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'ball interception', as the 24-year-old - despite Birmingham's disappointing season - impressed in defence for Garry Monk's side.
What a signing Emiliano Beundia proved to be for Norwich. In his debut season in England, the Argentine netted eight goals and registered 12 assists - only Brentford's Said Benrahma (14) had more of the latter - to return a WhoScored.com rating of 7.40. In addition, Buendia ranked third for accurate through balls (7) and key passes (91) as the Canaries were promoted to the Premier League as champions.
One way or another, it's likely that Jack Grealish will be playing Premier League football next season. Aston Villa's 10-match winning run - a club record - pushed Villa to a fifth-placed finish, with Grealish central to their play-off finish. Indeed, Villa's win ratio dropped from 54.8% to 20% when the 23-year-old did not start, further highlighting his importance to the Villans, as six goals and six assists contributed to his WhoScored.com rating of 7.44.
Partnering Jack Grealish in midfield is Sheffield United's Oliver Norwood, who scored a WhoScored.com rating of 7.39 in the Blades' successful promotion season. Norwood was the heartbeat of the United midfield as he ranked second for key passes (97) and third for accurate passes (2450) in the Championship this season. Three goals and eight assists - with seven WhoScored.com man of the match awards to boot - helped Norwood secure his place in the team.
Joe Lolley was one of only four players to register double figures for both goals (11) and assists (11) in the Championship this season - guaranteeing his place on the left of this XI by returning a WhoScored.com rating of 7.37. When in possession, Lolley was difficult to stop, as he completed more dribbles (110) than any other player in England's second tier this term to reinforce a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'dribbling'.
The second Aston Villa player to make the cut, Tammy Abraham missed the final weeks of the season through injury, but his form prior to his absence saw him secure a WhoScored.com rating of 7.32. Abraham enjoyed another prolific Championship season with the Villans as he scored 25 and registered three assists for Dean Smith's side. The Villa boss will be hoping the 21-year-old can fully recover from injury in time for the play-offs.
The second Birmingham player to feature - ensuring an all-Midlands frontline - is striker Lukas Jutkiewicz, whose WhoScored.com rating (7.72) was better than any other player in the Championship this season. Like Lolley, Jutkiewicz too registered double figures for goals (14) and assists (10) as he impressed in the Blues' attack. He won more aerial duels (569) and won more WhoScored.com man of the match awards (13) than any other player to round off this side.