A season that had a fair few ups and downs for Dundalk FC – losing a manager and his assistants, poor showing in the Champions League qualifiers, ending the season in the group stages of the Europa League and ending Shamrock Rovers’ quest for a clean, unbeaten sweep of the season with an extra-time victory in the FAI Cup final.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the Premier Division performance data output from the players at Dundalk FC this 2020 season.

All stats highlighted are for players who played a min. of 270 league mins this season.

Goalkeeping

As mentioned in previous articles, our GK model is still under development. Gary Rogers and Aaron McCarey shared the jersey this season, both with ups and downs. A decent return between them of 6 clean sheets from 18 games – with 23 goals conceded in the remaining 12 games (1.91 goals per game, when conceding). Considering the side conceded 18 goals in 2019 and 20 in the 2018 season (over 36 games), this is a poor return from a vastly experienced back-line.

Defensive metrics

Def 1v1: Cameron Dummigan led the rest of the squad when it came to defensive 1v1 situations/90 mins (definition in previous articles); with a very impressive 6.69 successful def. 1v1 situations per 90 mins. Chris Shields was the overall team leader in number of def. 1v1 encounters however, resulting in 117 encounters – a full 33 encounters ahead of Greg Sloggett in 2nd place (84). The player with the highest success rate (75.68%) – Andy Boyle.

Tackles: Chris Shields was a standout here, with the highest number of tackle attempts (24) and successful tackles/90 mins (0.98) over the season; a tackle being any sliding challenge made to dispossess an opponent. Again, Cameron Dummigan ranks highly here with the highest tackle success rate (100.00%), joint highest with Sean Murray.

Def Aerial duels: Sean Hoare “heads” the rest here, with the highest number of duels contested (72) and had the highest number of successful duels/90 mins (5.20), joint highest number of successful duels (47) with Daniel Cleary. Chris Shields features here yet again, with the highest aerial success rate (78.57%). There were three players with a 100% success rate (Patrick McEleney, Cammy Smith, and Nathan Oduwa) but their datasets were too small to count (just seven attempts between them).

Progressive Regains %: Our final metric for ranking the defensive side of the game is the progressive regain %. As mentioned in our previous article, it gives a greater sense of what a player does once possession is regained. Andy Boyle led the way here with a 93.59% progressive regain rate from 78 regain attempts.

Notable mention for Chris Shields with the highest number of progressive interceptions (46) and progressive recoveries (120) over the season, leading to a total of 224 individual regain attempts – the next closest was 88 from Michael Duffy.

Attacking Metrics

Goal Scoring: Dundalk scored 25 goals this season from just 230 efforts on goal. Based on shot location only, their total season xG was 32.87 goals – underperforming in front of goal by 7.87 goals. Patrick Hoban once again was the top scorer with 10 goals, scoring just 0.64 lower than his xG suggested (10.64). Jordan Flores over-performed in front of goal by 1.88 goals, with Michael Duffy over-performing by 0.99 goals for his 4 goals scored.

Patrick Hoban led the way in efforts on goal; with 44 chances on goal over the season. This relates to a team-leading 3.39 efforts on goal per 90 mins also.

Chances Created: The ‘chance creator’ is powerless as to whether it is an assist or not (down to his teammates’ ability to finish), but using chances created as a metric, this gives a clear indication of who the creative influences in the side are. Michael Duffy was the most creative player this season with 2.45 chances created/90 mins, also leading the way in number of chances created (35). He was way out in front of the next highest chance creators – Stefan Colovic, Sean Gannon, and Chris Shields (10).

Attacking Aerial Duels & Hold Up: In previous articles, the same players (usually the target man up front) led the way in both metrics, (apart from at Sligo Rovers). Patrick Hoban was no different here. A successful attacking aerial duels/90 min rate of 3.31, highest number of duels (94) which was 71 more than his nearest rival at the club. Hoban was also the squad leader for the number of successful hold-ups/90 mins (0.69) and over four times more hold-up efforts (13) than the next nearest player.

Attacking 1v1 & dribbles: Michael Duffy and Nathan Oduwa stood out from then rest in both metrics – both players second and third for number of dribble attempts (32 and 30 respectively). Duffy ended the season with the highest number of take-on attempts (60) in the squad (efforts to beat the opposition defender). Oduwa led the way in successful att. 1v1v attempts/90 (3.12) from 40 attempts.

Notable mention for Daniel Cleary, who had the highest number of dribble attempts (34).

Possession Metrics

7780 passing attempts were tagged for Dundalk this season (both successful and unsuccessful). With regards to pass direction:

Who stood out, possession-wise? As explained in our articles, pass completion doesn’t always give the clearest indication of passing value, due to lack of directional data. Andy Boyle ended with the highest pass completion rate (96.28%) from 752 pass attempts. He had the highest number of successful passes/90 mins (65.03). Chris Shields finished the season with the most successful passes (869) & the highest number of successful passes overall (1036).

Again, in our previous article, we mentioned that progressive passes are a far more insightful possession metric; passes towards the opposition goal. Brian Gartland leads this metric with 68.28% of his passes made towards the opponent’s goal. Gartland was not the player with the greatest progressive accuracy, however. Andy Boyle stands out again with a progressive pass completion rate of 94.73%, ahead of second-placed Gartland with 88.39%.

Player of the Season: Our data collection is completely objective; no opinion, no punditry and no “should have done better there”.

Due to consistency across the entire season, we have gone with Chris Shields as Dundalk’s Player of the Season from a statistical point of view.

The player ended the season with the best defensive data output and was consistently high across the possession output also. Added to this, his high placing in some attacking metrics (dribbles attempted, chances created and attacking 1v1) sealed the deal. For us at PlayerStat Data, his data output stands out from the rest.