Monday morning saw the Sky Bet Championship Team of the Season revealed. Given the plethora of talent in the league this season, the announcement naturally saw several worthy inclusions miss out – Newcastle fans, for example, were surprised to see Ciaran Clark and Matt Ritchie fail to be included.
In light of this, 48 hours on, we have devised an ‘alternate’ Team of the Season, including 11 Championship stars from 2016/17 who were unlucky to miss the cut on Monday.
So, without further adieu, here’s our ‘reserve’ line up!
Tammy Abraham (Bristol City): The young striker, on-loan from Chelsea, has an outstanding 19 goals from 32 appearances for relegation threatened Bristol City this season. I was shocked to see his exclusion from Monday’s team, given he’d scored 1 more goal than the selected Glen Murray, who plays in a far superior Brighton side. All things considered, he undoubtedly earned a place in the official team of the season.
Without Tammy Abraham, #BristolCity would:
🔘 Be on 27 Points
🔘 Be 13 points from safety
🔘 Be 14 points worse off
🔘 Be destined for League 1 pic.twitter.com/UY1jcrviFL
— Owen Riches (@MidgetMurphy) March 17, 2017
Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United): The summer signing has often been the heartbeat of the Newcastle United side this season. Ritchie has been superb, being effective offensively with 9 goals & 7 assists and a real workhorse defensively too. He’s given his all and has never hid when the chips are down. Quality and work-rate are two things rarely found in modern day wingers, but he has shown he has both this season.
— TFS Newcastle United (@TFS_Newcastle) January 28, 2017
Helder Costa (Wolves): The ex-Benfica winger has lit up the Championship at times this season, in an otherwise poor campaign for Wolves. With 9 goals and 8 assists, he’s had a an impressive first season in England, showing the sort of quality that justified the £13m spent by Wolves in January.
Tom Cairney (Fulham): The Scottish midfielder has been a revelation this season for Fulham, with 9 goals & 9 assists in the league. He ran the show in Fulham’s recent win at St.James’ park recently & was another one who was extremely unlucky to miss out. Rafa Benitez is said to have been impressed by the 26 year-old this season and it’s easy to see why. Also, he’s scored countless long range strikes this season, which have not gone unnoticed:
— FL72 Goals (@FL72Goals) March 12, 2017
Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa / Barnsley): The driving force behind Barnsley’s early season form. With 13 assists (most in the division) and 7 goals this term, Conor Hourihane has been involved in huge number of goals this season. Should he have stayed at Barnsley, or taken his form at Oakwell to Villa Park (following a January move), he would’ve been a nailed on pick for the Team of the Season.
Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield): Huddersfield have been a superb attacking force this season, however the midfield workhorse has done the dirty work expertly for The Terriers. Hogg may have gone under the radar in David Wagner’s side this season, but has been instrumental in their push for automatic promotion. His importance to Huddersfield was highlighted in last Friday’s hammering at Bristol City. Hogg suffered a horrific neck fracture in the first half and was stretchered off. At the point of his injury it was 0-0, however Huddersfield appeared to crumble without him, going on to lose 4-0.
Charlie Taylor (Leeds United): The 23 year-old left-back has attracted Premier League interest over the past few years and his displays this seasons show just why. The attacking full-back has notched 3 assists, also playing his part defensively, with Leeds boasting the 3rd best defensive record in the league.
Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United): Perhaps one of the biggest surprises on Monday was the omission of this man. Clark has been superb since signing from Aston Villa in the summer & has played a huge part in Newcastle’s countless gritty away wins, forming a solid partnership with Jamaal Lascelles. Given Newcastle have conceded fewer goals this season than any other side, it’s a shock to see no Newcastle defender present in the official team of the season.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 20, 2017
Kyle Bartley (Leeds United): The Leeds United Captain has been an inspired signing by Gary Monk last summer. While his centre-back partner, Pontus Jansson, was selected in the official team of the season on Monday, I believe Bartley has been equally as good. The 6ft 4 centre-back has played a huge part in his side conceding just 12 goals in 20 home league games at Elland Road, also contributing 4 goals and 2 assists in the process.
Bruno (Brighton): Despite the Brighton skipper turning 36 last year, the right-back played every minute for the Seagulls in their opening 16 games this season, helping them to clean sheets in 11 of them. Brighton have kept the most clean sheets in the Championship this season (19 in 38 games!) and the experienced Spaniard has been a big part of that, missing just 3 league games.
Ali Al-Habsi (Reading): Named Reading’s player of the season last year, the 35 year-old stopper has played every minute of Reading’s current campaign, contributing to the 13 clean sheets and saving 2 penalties. As Newcastle found in their 0-0 draw at Reading earlier in the month, the experienced goalkeeper can be hard to beat. While Newcastle’s Karl Darlow is a contender to replace him, Al-Habsi justifies his place, given he’s made more saves this season than any other Championship goalkeeper, which look set to secure Reading a place in the play-off’s.
Alternate Manager of the season
Gary Monk (Leeds United): Gary Monk has done a superb job at Leeds United since taking over at the beginning of last summer. There’s no denying Leeds United remain a big club despite their fans facing disappointment, season after season, with the club failing to make the Championship play-off’s over the past 10 years. Monk has galvanised the club, signing well in the summer window, motivating his players and delivering results on the pitch. Leeds currently sit in 4th position, looking nailed on for a play-off position and refusing to give up yet on automatic promotion. While it was hard to argue with Huddersfield’s David Wagner being awarded the manager of the season, Monk would’ve been a worthy winner.
So, that’s our ‘reserve’ team and manager for the season!
Thoughts? Is there anyone we haven’t included, who wasn’t picked on Monday or included in this alternate 11, that deserves a mention?