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Chris Wood has been fabulous for Leeds this season. His 27 league goals very nearly saw them to a play-off place and an overall record of 30 goals in 48 games is outstanding. He may well end up in the Premier League next season and his quality is not in question. However, given Leeds’ reliance on his goals, naming him as their player of the year would be just too obvious.
Had you watched Leeds United on several occasions this season, their alternative player of the year is an obvious choice too; Swedish central defender PONTUS JANSSON.
The big man is always good visually. Towering in the air, a strong tackler, good in possession and positionally excellent. He never fails to impress. He has kept many a good Championship strikers in his pocket this term and has done it with aggression when needed. Do his stats back this up though? You bet they do! Not only does he sit on top of the average rankings (out of ten) for Leeds United according to Whoscored.com, but also 4th in the Championship as a whole.
Of the regular players at Leeds, only Berardi makes more interceptions per game and of the defenders, only the Swiss full-back and Luke Ayling make more tackles. Jansson sits proudly on top of the list of those making blocks and when it comes to clearances, he has no competition. Leeds’ five most used defenders achieve the following clearances per game; Ayling – 3.4, Berardi – 4.2, Cooper – 5.7, Bartley – 7.6 and Jansson – 10.1. That is mighty impressive from the big man and in fact, it is the 4th best average in the league.
Pontus Jansson is a giant in the Leeds United team in more ways than one. Without his presence (and he has been around all season having made 36 appearances), Leeds would have been higher mid-table and that is with the goals of Chris Wood. Jansson is Premier League quality and it would be shocking if some of the best clubs in the country did not attempt to steal him before September.
Stats are not everything of course but it is clear that Jansson is one of the best players in the Championship right now. To say you have a player of such quality in your side but still miss out on the playoffs is probably an indicator of how far apart he is from other members of the Leeds squad. As such, he definitely rates as the alternative player of the year for the Elland Road side.