Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Analysing Managerial Performance - A Follow Up

While working on my previous blog post around ways to look at managerial performance I though the findings of expected points compared to actual points was quite interesting and thought I'd dig into this a little more.

The method behind this is to take the odds provided by Bet365 and give each team a % chance of winning or drawing a fixture. This can then be estimated into how many points the bookmakers think each team SHOULD be taking from a game.

For example for Blackburn vs Ipswich on the final day of last season the odds were

Blackburn Win - 3.3
Draw - 3.5
Ipswich Win - 2.3

This means the chances of each event occurring were as follows (with rounding taken into account)

Blackburn Win - 29.61%
Draw - 27.91%
Ipswich Win - 42.48%

From this we can estimate that Blackburn would be estimated to get at least 1.17 points and Ipswich 1.55 points.

As Blackburn actually won the game they obviously took 3 points (1.83 more than expected), while Ipswich took 0 points (1.55 less than expected)

The table for last season is below - it's amazing how many managers have left since the end of the season! 6 managers are now longer in their jobs - McLaren, Gray, Warburton, Jokanovic, Clark & Redfearn - while I have included Malky Mackay and Ian Holloway as they were in charge of Wigan and Millwall for most of the season.

The table throws up some interesting points

  • It's no surprise to see Eddie Howe and Steve Evans near the top - both have done very well since guiding their respective teams out of League Two and to sustain that into the Championship deserves a lot of credit.
  • Mick McCarthy has managed to work wonders with Ipswich, making the play offs this season against the odds
  • Mark Warburton, Slavisa Jokanovic and Steve McLaren were harshly treated in being relieved of their duties.
  • Alex Neil was perhaps expected to do well although still outperformed the odds - this maybe shows how good a team Norwich and when he took over.
  • Managers such as Stuart Gray and Neil Redfearn who were thought to have done exceptionally well maybe didn't perform as good as the bias expected - they were marginally better than Russell Slade who Cardiff wants would like sacked!
  • Chris Hughton and Steve Clarke took over in mid season and continued to struggle despite the bookies expecting them to turn it around
  • It's clear why Malky Mackay and Ian Holloway were sacked - though interestingly both have positive away Expected points totals.
Looking at Norwich I wondered what the previous managers records looked like, especially with so many changes in the Championship so below is the record of every manager from last season

It's clear there's a lot more underperformance in this table, reflected by the lack of managers who achieved a positive difference in results. Of the ones that did 2 managed Watford!

  • Maybe Adkins and Peeters were rather hastily dispensed with by their clubs, though both were suffering a downward turn in form at the time.
  • Uwe Rosler is surprisingly low, he was excellent for Wigan in 2013/14 and it shows how bad they underperformed last season compared to expectations.
  • Norwich were the case in point and Neil Adams massive underperformance despite leaving them just outside the play offs in January shows that the bookies expected them to be one of the best sides in the division.
  • Sami Hyypia managed to wrack up an incomprehensible under performance in such a short space of time

While none of these findings are conclusive due to the small amount of games played and large volume of variance from game to game it's interesting to see which managers are perceived to be doing better than others.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Is it better to be direct or retain possession in the Championship?

Football is a game of many styles. While most fans would love their team to resemble Barcelona or Arsenal on a week to week basis it's just not possible mainly due to the skill level of most sides, especially the lower down the leagues you go.

The Championship has a reputation for being blood and thunder, very little skill and teams just 'hoofing' it down the pitch with little thought to keeping the ball.

But is it?

I wanted to look at whether teams who kept the ball better do exist in the Championship, and if so do they tend to do better than sides that play more direct.

I wanted to look in particular at a few things (all info using WhoScored), which teams played the highest percentage of longer passes compared to their total passes, were teams who are better passers of the ball generally able to play more accurate longer passes, where did the teams finish depending on their style.

Unfortunately as with all statistical data there are some provisos - The stats just show the number of passes so these are unrelated to goalscoring in anyway. A team could play 10 short passes across the back line before going long in 1 pass and it puts the striker through on goal - is that team a possession based game or long ball? The stats would show that they make 10 short to every 1 long pass - indicates a possession team even if their chances are created via longer passes.

The table below shows which teams play short/long passes as a percentage of their total passes.

Table showing % of Short/Long passes by team in the Championship 2014/15

The table clearly shows that the teams that play more short passes finish higher up the table. This is a common theme throughout the divisions as teams who are better at keeping the ball tend to create more chances - the obvious exception to this is Ipswich, who are ranked as the team playing the highest number of long passes compared to short but finished 6th in the league.

There are other anomalies such as Brighton being well down the league and also Fulham despite a passing style and Derby were the number 1 short passing team despite dropping out of the play offs on the last day.

While the number of long balls played could be a particular way of playing, how did the teams create their chances? We can see in the table below (click on the table to enlarge)

Table showing style of Key Passes made and difference to Total in Previous Table
Interestingly, most of the teams at the top created more chances as a % of their long passing than they did by their short passing, although most of the margins are quite small. Derby are interesting to note as they had the highest positive difference, despite being top of the previous table. So even though they played the highest percentage of short passes, when they did go long they made very little chances, which could be a sign of a team without a back up plan.

The teams down a the bottom, who tended to play a lot of longer balls, created more chances via short passing perhaps a reason they failed to deliver consistently as they persisted with a more direct game despite not creating as much from the longer passes they did play.

While these are just a couple of simple tables and don't give any clear definitions on a 'best' way to play it's clear that the better teams are able to do both, passing short to retain the ball but able to create chances via more than 1 method.

How do the Championship teams compare to the Premier League? Is the Championship really just constant long balls where the Premier League is beautiful?

From this table it's clear the teams in the Premier League play a much clearer passing  game - Derby, the team with the largest % of short passes to long passes in the Championship, would only be ranked 9th in the Premier League.

What is interesting is when we compare the top 8 in the Championship, who were much better than the rest of the division, and compare them with the bottom 8 in the Premier League, who spent most of the season battling to survive.

The table shows that 6 of the top 9 teams were from the Championship, with Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich all firmly in this section. Will they still play the same style when they are scrapping to stay up? It will be interesting to see if Bournemouth stick to their principles but this is another indication that maybe the Championship isn't quite as direct as it's made out to be.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Analysing Managerial Performance - Is there a better way?

With the heavy turnover of managers across most football teams these days, it's often hard to judge what passes for success.

Recent studies showed the Championship to be one of the most volatile leagues with 20 managers being sacked over the course of the 2014/15 season - though Watford and Leeds accounted for 6 of those between them, so some context must be given. The recent BBC story (available here) is an OK piece but it doesn't really dig beneath the surface, with quotes from Richard Bevan about the sackings affecting 200 families a little odd - are chairman sacking managers and replacing them with single males?!? Or are 200 other families benefitting from the replacements. Anyway.....

The questions leads to why so many managers are being sacked, what are they being judged on and what makes a chairman pull the trigger.

The obvious answer is that a lack of time is often the route cause of a manager being sacked. A bad run at any point in the season can lead to the chairman being a little quick to get rid, take Steve McLaren as a case in point. After turning Derby from a bog standard mid table team to promotion challengers last season the pressure was on to deliver this year - that they were top on 1st March and finished 8th shows a drop in form but should he have been sacked? There were other circumstances yes, but it's odd that a manager can be sacked by a Championship club and go on to get a Premier League job, which looks the case with McLaren.

So, if a manager is given time how should they be judged?

1) Win Ratio

Many managers point to a win ratio as a badge of honour. This is the industry standard, the thing mainstream media use and is in all honesty a terrible way of looking at things. It is often talked about with no context, so how do we know what a good win ratio is? I'm sure Luis Enrique has a phenomenal win ratio, should all others be compared to him?

I'll use 5 Championship managers from the middle of the table (9th - 13th) and compare their records since they were appointed in all competitions

Gary Rowett (Birmingham City) -        44.12% (15 wins in 34 games)
Guy Luzon (Charlton Athletic) -          38.10% (8 in 21)
Russell Slade (Cardiff City) -                37.84% (14 in 37)
Gary Bowyer (Blackburn Rovers) -      37.27% (41 in 110)
Stuart Gray (Sheffield Wednesday) -    35.71% (30 in 84)

The above list shows that Gary Rowett has the best win ratio (sample size permitting) but there is not a massive difference between him and Gray. If Gray won his first 5 games of next season and Rowett lost his first 5 - unlikely but not unthinkable - Gray immediately has a better win ratio - this shows the volatility of it. So what is a better way?

2) Average points per game

Taking 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw - if a team wins half and loses half their matches from a sample of 20 (50% win ratio - 30 points) has the manager done much better than one who has won 7 drawn 8 and lost 5? (35% win ratio - 29 points)
While they would have 1 point more, if they are purely being judged on Win Ratio they are much better off going for it and trying to win games than settling for a draw. I read recently about the philosophy of Paco Jemez the Rayo Vallecano manager in the Spanish La Liga, he had this to say:-

So are draws worthless? Taking the 5 managers above into account how do they compare?

Gary Rowett - 1.62 Points per game (55 points from 34 games)
Gary Bowyer - 1.46 Points per game (161 from 110)
Guy Luzon - 1.45 Points per game (29 from 20)
Russell Slade - 1.41 Points per game (52 from 37)
Stuart Gray - 1.37 Points per game (115 from 84)

So Gary Bowyer comes out much better in this ratio than just using Win Ratio. While it's still relatively close a different metric produces a different result. Does that mean Bowyer should be doing better than he is? At 1.46 points per game over a 46 game season he could expect 67 points - nowhere near enough for the Championship top 6 that Blackburn are aiming for.

3) Trophies/Promotion/Cup runs

While major trophies are almost unheard of outside the top flight teams these days (Sheffield Wednesday being the last team outside the top division to lift a major trophy - the League Cup in 1991) a team higher up the leagues will be judged on their achievements. Is it enough for Arsene Wenger to be happy with finishing 4th every season (alright, not this year!)? Should clubs at the higher end be judged if they do win a cup? If so, why do so many Premier League clubs pay little attention to the League Cup/Europa League in particular? The simple reason is the money. Stoke/Swansea/West Brom etc are much better staying the Premier League and reaping the financial rewards than winning a trophy and being relegated (look at the plight of Wigan - would they swap the FA Cup win for keeping their place in the Premier League)

So given this, should managers be judged on whether they achieve promotion from the Championship? Aitor Karanka was certainly unlucky and nobody would have expected Mick McCarthy to take Ipswich into a top 6 finish - but Steve McLaren has lost his job as Derby boss by coming 8th, Nigel Clough led Sheffield United to 5th and the play offs but still suffered the chop.

Again, looking at the managers above, while none have achieved promotion Gary Bowyer has been under pressure for not getting Blackburn near the play offs - though a successful FA Cup run somewhat took the heat off him. Russell Slade has barely been in the job a season but the Cardiff fans want him out. Stuart Gray and Gary Rowett on the other hand are not far off worshipped by the fans of their respective clubs. For this to be taken into consideration it must be based on perceived expectations. Gray may find himself under deeper pressure this season due to lifted expectations amongst the Sheffield Wednesday fans.

4) Points per £

Another method - and this may not work for all clubs, though with Financial Fair Play rules impacting across the whole of Europe it is worth considering - is which managers get the most points for their money. I did a similar style of summary for this on the MLS in 2012 as they publish the salaries of all players so you can work out a cost per point, at least from the playing staff.
More recently, Brentford seem to have taken this massively into account when appointing their new manager Marinus Dijkhuizen. I'm sure there were lots of other factors but his over performance with Excelsior in the Dutch Eredivisie compared to the budget was quite stark as this table by Martijn Hilhorst shows

Unfortunately most English clubs won't reveal their budget - most is simply guesswork - so a simpler way could be to look at overall operating costs, turnover etc. However, these take in several factors not necessarily linked to performance on the pitch, such as the Academy, Commercial operations, Community work etc, so may be a reach to just use a simple figure such as this.

However, a savvy chairman will at least be able to work out the return per budget for his manager, though may struggle to use this as a comparison figure.

The other danger with this is that most of the teams at the higher end of this table were battling relegation. To win/be promoted you need a bigger budget and the pay off from this is that the points expectation then goes up. If Marinus Dijkhuizen was given PSV's budget would he have achieved as well with Excelsior? Unlikely as he would have needed to gain 467 points!!

5) Attacking Style

Some teams naturally will play an exciting style, where others will play to the best of their abilities and use what they have. Sometimes these clash between expectations and reality.

A prime example of this would be a team like West Ham United and Sam Allardyce. This would always be a clash of styles between a manager who favours efficiency and making the most of what is available to a group of fans who want their team to play the "right way".

For me, in football there is no "right way" - the "right way" is generally whatever works - but I have to say from watching Sheffield Wednesday when Gary Meson was in charge the feeling changed quickly when a couple of defeats in a row happened - you don't mind watching poor football if the results match up but when you're watching poor football and losing the fans can quickly turn.

Anyway, back to Allardyce - West Ham generally play a more direct style and the fans want to see more attacking, possession football. This is fine, and probably goes a long way to what cost Allardyce his job at the end of a reasonable reason - they are in Europe, even if it is via the back door.

So what metrics should be looked at to see which teams play more attacking football?
While available statistics in the Championship are not as good as the Big 5 European leagues, the data is there behind the scenes from companies like Opta.
Even just using WhoScored we can look at things like Shot Share (shots for/shots against), Key Passes, Short Passes Per Game can all be used - I'll put a few of these in the table below for the managers I've named above, just to show an example of the different styles - this is simply a table and not analysis on any of the 5 and due to the limitations of the data this is taken over the full season (which usually combines more than 1 manager) - it's enough to paint a picture either way.

In a nutshell, the above shows:-

1) Charlton are regularly outshot by their opponents (Charlton have 0.55 shots for every 1 of the opposition)

2) Charlton have the best ratio of Chances created by Short Passing to Long Passing - They create 3.96 chances with a short pass for every long pass

3) Blackburn do more short passes than the other 4 teams, 3.86 short passes for every long pass (this is standard passes, regardless of location on the pitch)

4) Charlton have a much higher percentage of their shots from Open Play & Counter Attacks than via any other method (penalties, set pieces etc)

There are obviously caveats to the above data but it gives an idea that a chairman can use statistics to see how his team performs in an attacking sense.

6) Points over Expected

This utilises an idea from Simon Gleave, in that some games managers are EXPECTED to win.

Take Chelsea for example. They would be expected to win a home game against QPR, so when they do pick up the 3 points does it mean they are performing well? On the reverse of this, a team such as Swansea or Crystal Palace may be in mid table, but picking up more points than they are expected to get.

So we can see whether the 5 managers we are looking at have under or over performed in the Championship games they have been in charge of. To do this I will use the Bookmakers odds from Bet365 to calculate the probability that they would win the game.

To look at an example for Blackburn vs Ipswich on the final day of the 2014/15 season the odds were 3.3 for Blackburn, 3.5 for the draw and 2.3 for Ipswich - this means that the bookies thought Blackburn had a 29.6% chance of winning, there was a 27.9% chance of a draw and Ipswich had a 42.5% chance. We can use that to estimate the number of points they were EXPECTED to get from the game = Blackburn were expected to get 1.17 points, Ipswich were expected to get 1.55 points (Win % * 3 + Draw % * 1). The final result was a Blackburn win, so Blackburn over performed by 1.83 points and Ipswich under performed by 1.55 points. We can use this method in the table below to see how each manager has faired in league games under their tenure.

As you can see from the list above, all the managers are performing slightly better than expected - even the unpopular Slade has picked up more points than the bookies thought he would (this is due to their away form, they actually underperformed at home).

Again, this method isn't foolproof but it does give an idea of expectation and takes out some of the bias of having a better team.

7) Relationship with fans/chairman/players

Above all one thing that cannot be discounted is the relationship the Manager has with the fans, chairman and players. All the Win Ratios, Points per Pound and exciting football will do the manager no good if he doesn't have all 3 on board.
Take the example of Alan Pardew at Newcastle - the fans have been against him for a long time and though several tables showed he was over performing based on his expectations the relationship was at a point where his position was untenable. He has continued his relative success at Crystal Palace, where he shares a much better relationship.
Similar examples exist when managers have "lost the dressing room" - which supposedly happened to Beppe Sannino at Watford, despite them sitting top of the Championship after 6 games.
Losing the support of the chairman will always lead to the sack no matter how highly the fans regard you - it seems at Leeds it is better to have the support of the chairman than it is the fans or players which Neil Redfearn found out to his cost.

These are just some examples - I'm sure there are others but maybe it's time to look beyond the obvious and easy statistics and try something different.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 1 June 2015

My Championship Team of the Season 2014/15

Following on from my comprehensive review of the Championship season I have decided to do what I consider to be the team of the season.

These are often polarising and most people can make a case for at the very minimum one or two different players so this is just my opinion having watched a lot of Championship games this season for my job.

I decided to start with a 4-4-2 formation. There tends to be a mix of styles in the Championship and a lot of teams have begun to play with a lone striker but with the quality of centre forwards in the division it would have been incredibly hard to only pick one.

So on to my team....

GK - Kieren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)

Really can't argue with the official PFA team for this one, Westwood was outstanding in goal for Wednesday and a big part of them keeping a joint record number of clean sheets in a season. Giving confidence to his defence with his commanding presence, he is an excellent shot stopper, making several saves which really should have ended in goals for the opposition. On numerous occasions he was a one man barricade and allowed Wednesday to snatch several vital away wins.

Notable mentions - David Button (Brentford), Stephen Henderson (Charlton), Marco Silvestri (Leeds)

RB - Simon Francis (Bournemouth)

Francis has been with Bournemouth since 2012 and seems to be a late developer as he improved on an excellent first season at Championship level in 2013/14 and was one of the most deadly partnerships in the league on the right side for the Cherries. His attacking style, mixed with a great engine, pace and the ability to recover his position quickly, led to countless Bournemouth attacks going between him and Ritchie, with Francis overlapping and allowing Ritchie to come inside and effectively play as a striker at times. Francis rarely got caught out at the back and chipped in with 6 assists, also finishing as WhoScored's 2nd highest rated player over the season.

Notable mentions - Moses Odubajo (Brentford), Chris Solly (Charlton), Paul Caddis (Birmingham City)

CB - Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town)

Berra was one of the primary reasons that Ipswich got anywhere near the play offs, his contribution defensively was outstanding in a team not packed with superstars. He often played the role of the covering defender, allowing his more aggressive partner Tommy Smith to attack the ball, but his reading of the game was excellent as he constantly got back into position to cut out any danger. He is capable of stepping in to win the ball before needing to make a tackle, ending the season with an average of 2.7 interceptions per game and was the highest rated player in the Championship to make a minimum of 20 appearances. His season ended on a sour note as he was red carded as Ipswich lost to local rivals Norwich in the play offs but he can hold his head high for a successful season.

CB - Michael Morrison (Birmingham City)

This may seem a strange choice with some other notable candidates but Birmingham were in a real mess when Gary Rowett took over and he immediately moved to sign Morrison from Charlton, initially on loan but later on a permanent deal. Their upturn in form was dramatic, in no small part thanks to the introduction of Morrison in defence. They picked up points in 11 of the 13 games he played before a knee injury curtailed his season at former club Sheffield Wednesday. Birmingham started to slide and when he made his comeback picking up points in 6 of his 8 games played. Of the four teams they lost to 3 were Bournemouth, Watford and Derby - all top sides. His contribution cannot be undervalued and he was a big part of their revival.

Notable mentions - Steve Cook (Bournemouth), Tommy Elphick (Bournemouth), Russell Martin (Norwich), Danny Batth (Wolves), Matt Kilgallon (Blackburn), Tom Lees (Sheffield Wednesday), Michael Hector (Reading), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)

LB - George Friend (Middlesbrough)

Friend was a regular in the Middlesbrough side that came so close to promotion and after being watched by many Premier League teams could leave in the summer. He missed only 3 games all season and was a threat going forward as Middlesbrough tended to play Tomlin on the left of midfield who liked to cut in so Friend was relied on to overlap. His crossing is good and he has the ability to beat his man but he is also very strong defensively and contributed in no small part to Middlesbrough's excellent defensive record over the season, which was the meanest in the league.

Notable mentions - Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth), Craig Forsyth (Derby), Tyrone Mings (Ipswich), Jordan Obita (Reading)

RM - Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth)

Hard to argue against a player with so much contribution to his teams attacking prowess. At one point early in the season Ritchie had more goals and assists as an individual than most of the bottom half teams! He finished the season strongly, continually chipping in with goals and always a threat from the right where he could cut in with Francis overlapping. He earned a Scotland call up, a shame in a way as he had the potential to play for England if he continues his upward curve in the Premier League. He played some part of every game during the season, ending with 15 goals and 17 assists - astonishing for a winger.

Notable mentions - Tom Ince (Derby), Johnny Russell (Derby), Jota (Brentford), Johann Gudmundsson (Charlton), David Cotterill (Birmingham)

CM - Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough)

Leadbitter was often maligned, especially during Tony Mowbray's stint as manager, as a player who was limited. Under Aitor Karanka he has got back to his best and is a superb calming influence in a Middlesbrough team who came very close to promotion under his captaincy. Often sitting in front of the defence and breaking up the play, he isn't the most mobile so had to have a superb knack for positioning himself in the right place or it would have been easy to bypass him. Chipped in with 11 goals and 9 assists, mainly from penalties and set pieces, but to say he didn't score after early January it shows his impact in the first half of the season.

CM - Alex Pritchard (Brentford)

A tough one to call for central midfield but due to choosing a 4-4-2 he doesn't really fit anywhere else! He tended to play centrally behind the striker for Brentford in their 4-2-3-1, but continually rotated with Judge and occasionally Jota into the wide positions. Known more for his free kicks, which seemed to catch a lot of Championship goalkeepers out from range, but also with excellent movement and capable of finding space between the lines high up the pitch. His passing and fluid movement bought him time and space and for a young player his decision making and vision are both excellent. Could feature for Tottenham next season and wouldn't look out of place.

Notable mentions - Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Johnny Howson (Norwich), Bradley Johnson (Norwich), Almen Abdi (Watford), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Cole Skuse (Ipswich), Jonathan Douglas (Brentford), Kevin McDonald (Wolves), Alex Mowatt (Leeds), Lewis Cook (Leeds), Lars Christensen (Fulham), Jamie O'Hara (Blackpool)

LM - Michail Antonio (Nottingham Forest)

This was a close run choice between Sako and Antonio. I went for Antonio mainly due to the improvement he has shown over the last year and how much Forest now rely on him. When he was at Sheffield Wednesday he took a while to settle to Championship football and was very inconsistent. He seems to have regained much of his energy and drive since moving to Nottingham, and after starting on the left of a 4-3-3, he was mainly used wide in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 for the majority of the season. Excellent at picking the ball up from deep and driving at the opposition, he uses his physique and close control to get past men and is a good finisher, ending the season with 14 goals and 12 assists during what was a disappointing campaign for Forest.

Notable mentions - Bakary Sako (Wolves), Ben Marshall (Blackburn), Demarai Gray (Birmingham), Joao Carlos (Brighton), Ben Pringle (Rotherham)

ST - Troy Deeney (Watford)

Deeney secured Watford promotion to the Premier League, firing another 20 goal haul, his 3rd successive season achieving that landmark. But it wasn't just his goals that took Watford to a top 2 finish. Playing in a team which always looked to attack but changed style somewhat from deep passing and counter attacking, to being able to be more direct when required. That meant Deeney had to play the role of both target man and also be able to run in behind. He is an excellent all round striker and if Watford hadn't gone up I'm sure he would have been snapped up by a Premier League team for big money. He is a leader and a huge influence on Watford.

ST - Darryl Murphy (Ipswich)

Murphy has been a player who has often had to play 2nd fiddle to other strikers. Generally overshadowed by the more enigmatic McGoldrick at Ipswich, this year he stepped up and it was mainly due to his contribution that Ipswich ended the season in the play offs. He scored a division high 27 goals but has improved his all round game. Ipswich's direct style requires him to be a powerhouse in the air, something he excels at, but his workrate and ability to run the channels as well, with better pace than you'd imagine, helped Ipswich keep the ball high up the pitch. Scored some stunning goals as well and will need to repeat the feet next season for Ipswich to challenge again.

*note - this was the hardest position to chose - I could have gone for any of the notable mentions below and easily justified it!

Notable mentions - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Yann Kermorgant (Bournemouth), Cameron Jerome (Norwich), Chris Martin (Derby), Benik Afobe (Wolves), Britt Assombalonga (Nottingham Forest), Rudy Gestede (Blackburn), Clayton Donaldson (Birmingham)


So there we have it, feel free to disagree in the comments below if you think I've not justified somebody well enough or other should have taken their place!