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Player Rankings | National League 2020/21

With most of us already looking ahead to a new season, new players and watching games in the flesh, I thought we might have one last look at last season and drill down on some of the key player stats and how they ranked.

A few things to mention before we start.

  1. The rankings below are not exhaustive but represent some of the key player attributes that influence overall performance.

  2. Only players that played 1,000 minutes or more during the season are listed.

  3. All stats are for minutes played in the National League only.

  4. Data used is from Wyscout.

So what better place to start than where the goals came from.

Bromley's Michael Cheek topped the goal scoring charts netting 20 times for The Ravens, the only player to break the 20 goal mark in the league.

Maidenhead's Danilo Orsi came a close second with 19 goals and Kabongo Tshimanga followed in third place with a creditable 18 goals for Boreham Wood.

When we look at xG (expected goals) we can identify where players maybe could have done better or may have been over achieving.

Kyle Wootton recorded the highest xG in the league last season. His expected goals total of 21.88 was some way higher than the 17 goals actually recorded suggesting he maybe should have made more of his opportunities.

Equally Michael Cheek's 20 goal haul was a little better than his xG suggesting he was a little more clinical with his chances.

Also, hard not to mention Danilo Orsi again who was quite possibly the most effective goal scorer in the league netting 19 times with an xG of just 16.60.

Moving onto assists and Weymouth's Sean Shields tops the leader board with 11 assists.

Bromley's Frankie Raymond with 9 assists comes in second just ahead of a few players with 8 assists.

Again just as with xG we can look at xA (expected assists).

Myles Weston recorded the highest xA with 9.96 for Dagenham but actually recorded 7 assists. This might suggest that a few of the chances created by Weston were not capitalised on by his team mates.

Sean Shields who topped the assists leader board recorded a lower xA which suggests the Weymouth goal scorers were a little more clinical with the chances he created.

When it come to shots on goal Kyle Wootton tops the charts again with 113 just ahead of Stockport's John Rooney with 111 shots which is quite remarkable for a midfielder.

Shots on target is a key attribute and we can look at those as a percentage.

Bromley's Courtney Duffus, who started the season at Yeovil Town recorded the highest percentage of shots on target, closely followed followed by Weymouth's Andy Dallas and Luke Armstrong of Hartlepool.

Now we can have a look at game construction which tends to focus on passing and ball progression.

Looking at the most passes made last season it will be no surprise to Notts fans to see both Jake Reeves and Michael Doyle featuring . . . backwards, sideways, backwards, sideways etc.

Hartlepool's Nicky Featherstone chipped in with a fair few passes of his own and Stockport fans may not be surprised to see Liam Hogan in the top 5.

Having just bemoaned the sometimes frustrating possession based football we became accustomed to as Notts fans last season, the irony will not be lost on many that Michael Doyle recorded the most number of passes into the final third.

We should also mention Boreham Wood's Femi Ilesanmi who featured in the top 5 for passes and most passes into the final third.

Next we can take a look at smart passes. These are creative and penetrative passes that generally attempt to break the opposition's defensive lines to gain an attacking advantage.

Boreham Wood's Kieran Murtagh tops the leader board when it comes to smart passes making 58 in total.

Hartlepool, Stockport and Notts fans will not be surprised to see the likes of Holohan, Rodrigues and Rooney in the top 5.

As well as passes we can also look at progressive runs. These are recorded when a player has made a run that presses the opposition. This is usually recorded if the run carries the ball 30 meters or more closer to the opposition goal.

Sutton United winger David Ajiboye recorded the most progressive runs closely followed by Altrincham full back Joel Senior who recorded 127 progressive runs, mostly down the right flank.

A special mention above for Sonny Carey at King's Lynn who really impressed for the Linnets during the season and has been rewarded with a move to the Championship and newly promoted Blackpool.

Finally we will look at defensive attributes starting with defensive duels.

Solihull's Jordan Piggott won the highest percentage of defensive duels closely followed by Alex Lacey of Notts County with Ben Turner, Pierce Bird and Ashley Palmer all recording high success in this category.

Aerial duels up next and at 6'4" Barnet's Ben Richards-Everton made sure he won the highest percentage of headed duels with King's Lynn's Rory McCauley coming a close second.

Interceptions are recorded when a player actively intercepting the ball by anticipating its movement when the opponent is shooting, passing or crossing.

Centre back Alan Massey recorded a total of 284 interception's for Maidenhead last season.

Last but not least we can take a look at the goal keepers.

Yeovil's Adam Smith was the busiest keeper last season facing a total 181 shots during the season, however it was Dagenham's Elliot Justham who made the most saves just ahead of Joe McDonald for Eastleigh.

When it comes to effective goal keeping it's Lucas Covolan who comes out on top. The Torquay shot stopper prevented a total of 11.56 goals being scored against the Gulls.

Elliot Justham features again preventing 9.85 goals and Weymouth's Ethan Ross managed to prevent 7.73 goals from the opposition.

And it's Lucas Covolan that tops our final top 5 with successful reflex saves (%). These are saves from a shot from near distance, where the goalkeeper has to react immediately, using his reflexes to save the ball.

A special mention as well for harry Isted of Wealdstone who ran Covolan close in this category.

So that rounds off 2020/21 in the National League. Congratulations to Sutton United and Hartlepool United for their promotions to the EFL. Both thoroughly deserved although I'm sure Torquay and Stockport fans might not share the sentiment.

The National League is shaping up to be a very competitive league next season with the addition of Grimsby and Southend and the undoubted strengthening of the likes of Stockport, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Notts County to name but a few.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts over the last season, it's very much appreciated.

Until next time,