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Man of the Match season standings (15/46)

edited November 2021 in Football

Another five games have come and gone, so time to update the MOTM race. Here are the leaders in three categories:

Overall votes:
1. McLeary - 141
2. Scowen - 126
3. Tafazolli - 102
4. Stewart - 88
5. Hanlan - 73
6. Jacobson - 56*
7. Stockdale - 56*
8. Thompson - 46*
9. Vokes - 46*
10. Pendlebury - 30
(*note: votes per start used as tiebreaker when level, MOTM wins used as second tiebreak)

Votes per start:
1. Hanlan - 12.16
2. McLeary - 11.75
3. Tafazolli - 9.27
4. Scowen - 8.4
5. Stewart - 6.28
(Minimum 6 starts)

MOTM Awards
Stewart - 3
Scowen - 3 (incl. 1 shared)
McLeary - 2
Hanlan - 2
Jacobson - 2 (incl. 1 shared)
Vokes - 1
Pendlebury - 1
Thompson - 1
Tafazolli - 1
Stockdale - 1 (shared)
(Tiebreak: outright wins over shared wins)

Here is my handicapping of how I think things stand for the most likely winner of the MOTM and/or actual Player of the Season, in current order. Please note I think Thompson, Vokes, Jacobson, Stockdale and Obita have all been excellent, but probably all have too much to do to catch up. I have given reasons why I think each player may win, and why he may not. It feels a bit weird to talk about players being in competition each other, but in the context of an individual award, it can’t be helped.

1st - Garath McLeary
Why he may win: Dynamic, game changing play plus goals
McLeary is the current leader, and rightly so. Despite missing three starts (so far), he still easily has the most overall MOTM votes. His dribbling, passing, crossing and shooting are all absurdly above League One standard, to the point where it is almost hard not to pity defenders at this level. He is the leading goal scorer, and will get plenty of assists too.
Why he may not win: Hanlan/Brilliance fatigue
Hanlan may be the most significant threat to McLeary running away with the title, and is the best point of comparison as a fellow forward. If Hanlan keeps playing at a high level and catches or overtakes McLeary for goals and/or assists having played less games, it is possible to imagine Hanlan becoming the favourite. That is still a big “if”, though. As for the ‘Brilliance fatigue’, I could see a scenario in which McLeary’s excellence becomes so established that it becomes a kind of baseline of expectancy, and the awe of it is lost a little as we grow accustomed to it.

2nd – Brandon Hanlan
Why he may win: Dynamic, game changing play plus goals
Hanlan has only started six league games, but has already scooped two MOTM awards, a much better rate than any other qualifier (Pendlebury is not considered to have had enough starts for this purpose) and is also leading the votes per start category – which I consider the most important – though with only 6 starts under his belt. He has quickly gone from being behind Horgan in the pecking order to (probably) being one of the first names on the team sheet. He can score and assist, and is a constant danger. His “down game” for me still involved him getting into dangerous positions time and again.
Why he may not win: McLeary/Lack of games
Just as Hanlan is the biggest danger to McLeary winning, so is McLeary to Hanlan. If Hanlan does not catch up to McLeary in goals (and secondarily, assists) and also starts significantly fewer games as he has so far, it will become extremely difficult for him to win over GMac.

3rd – Josh Scowen
Why he may win: Consistency
Scowen plays at a very similar, high level for every game, and as a result, is the only player to have received at least one MOTM vote every game, even on a down day, which is amazing (and he has started every game too). He won two MOTM awards early, and shared a three way tie for another. His battling, tenacious style fits what we do as a team perfectly, and as he is always in the thick of the midfield action he will always gain a fairly steady stream of votes.
Why he may not win: Lack of goals
Though Scowen is not in the team to score, it will become increasingly difficult for him to come in above players such as McLeary and Hanlan (or even scoring defenders), as goalscoring tends to almost guarantee MOTM votes, and over the course of a season, a scoring forward will likely have several games where a large chunk of votes is gained as a result of goals. This is not a knock on Josh, just a disadvantage in the overall MOTM award or Player of the Season.

4th – Ryan Tafazolli
Why he may win: Imperious defending plus goals
The reasons for Taffs and Stewart winning or not winning are basically identical, with Taffs being handicapped ahead simply because he has scored more goals and gained more votes and votes per start. Taffs is already having a central defender season for the ages, scoring four goals and not even needing to touch one of them to get it in the back of the net! He is a tower in defence, and barely puts a foot wrong.
Why he may not win: Difficult to gain on attacking talent
Somewhat similarly to Scowen, it is simply going to be difficult to gain on the likes of McLeary and Hanlan. Taffs does have goals in him (unlike Scowen so far), but it is going to be hard to have Crewe-type games often enough to really trouble the goalscoring forwards – and we also should not (and hope not to!) have enough backs-to-the-wall defensive games for him to gain in that manner.

5th – Anthony Stewart
Why he may win: Imperious defending plus goals
Stewart is basically to defence to how I described McLeary in attack – his brilliance is so guaranteed and consistent that it is almost part of the furniture. Like Taffs, he rarely puts a foot wrong, and also has goals in him, like his taller CB partner. Stewart could feasibly be voted Player of the Season every year without anyone batting an eyelid, he is that good. He is also leading the actual MOTM award category, having three unshared wins, whereas one of Scowen’s three awards was shared with two other players.
Why he may not win: Difficult to gain on attacking talent
Much like Taffs, this is going to be a difficult season for gaining more votes than the likes of McLeary and Hanlan. Stewart would probably need to bang in a few more goals while having more defensive masterclasses against Rotherham-type opposition.

If you have read this far, you have too much time on your hands, but any thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

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