Stathursday: the play-offs' Stats XI

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Every Thursday, we zoom in on some interesting statistics provided by our data partner StatsPerform in the 'Stathursday' section. To put the 2021-2022 season completely to bed, we take a final look at the regular competition. Based on the data from StatsPerform, we put together the ideal XI based on performances in the Champions' and Europe Play-offs.

National champion Club Brugge won the fiercely contested battle against R. Union Saint-Gilloise and put its eighteenth national title in its pocket. Blauw-Zwart owes this to a strong performance in the  Champions' Play-offs, in which it beat the surprising Brussels team twice in a row. Credit where credit is due: Alfred Schreuders' formula has worked perfectly. That's why we draw up our ideal 11 from the play-offs in his preferred formation: 3-5-2.

The Champions' Playoffs MVP was without a doubt Simon Mignolet (33). The goalkeeper stood up for Club Brugge when they needed him the most. According to the xG algorithm of Stats Perform, 'Big Si' should have conceided 8 goals in the six play-off games, but only Michael Frey (R. Antwerp FC) managed to score against him. The impact of Mignolet, who registered 24 saves - 6 per match in the play-offs, was thus enormous. With a save percentage of 96 percent, he outclasses the other goalkeepers.

For comparison: in the regular season, the goalie of Blauw-Zwart averaged 2.15 saves per game and his save percentage was 67 percent. Mignolet reached top form at the most crucial moment.

In front of Mignolet, we position a defensive trio that would be almost impossible to outwit in the Jupiler Pro League. R. Antwerp FC did not perform as hoped in the Champions' Play-offs, but Ritchie De Laet (33) reached a more than decent level in the final round. The experienced defender stands out in one statistic in particular: in his last four duels, all eight tackles De Laet made resulted in Antwerp winning the ball. Tackling at 100 per cent, no other player accomplished that. In the regular season Dorian Dessoleil had 18 successful tackles against 3 unsuccessful ones (5 out of 6). 

The statistic shows how exceptionally De Laet performed during the play-offs. With 20 recuperations and 5 interceptions, the crowd favourite at the Bosuil showed that he is still the patron of the Antwerp defence. In our Stats XI the RAFC defender is flanked by two strong and duelling football players: Christian Burgess (30) and Michael Ngadeu (31). 

The Englishman was the rock in the R. Union SG defence during the Champions' Play-offs. He registered 13 tackles (only Stefan Knezevic (17) did better), 35 ball recuperations (only Wesley Hoedt (36) did better) and 11 headed clearances. In the latter statistic, no one recorded more. Of the 13 tackles, 10 resulted in the Brussels side gaining possession of the ball. Only De Laet had a higher success rate.

Ngadeu fell just short of a selection in the ideal XI of the regular season, but he earned his spot in this team. After Club Brugge (2 goals against), KAA Gent (5) conceided the least in the play-offs, and the Cameroonian defender had a large share in that. After Burgess (11 headed clearances), he headed the most balls clear (9). No defender scored more goals (3) and blocked more attempts by the opponent (9). With 32 ball recoveries, Ngadeu is also in the top 5.

Stefan Knezevic (25), who made 17 tackles and recovered posession 39 times in the Europe playoffs, is on the bench as a wild card. In both statistics, nobody did better than the central defender of Sporting Charleroi. Knezevic could have ended up in this 'Stats XI', but the Carolos gave away 12 goals. That is the highest number of all play-off teams. Therefore, Ngadeu was preferred.

He was not selected for the regular season's 'Stats XI', but Alessio Castro-Montes (25) can't be ignored this time. Two assists, 27 recuperations and 64.7 km in six games: statistics that show the versatility of the Spanish Belgian. Apart from Sam Vines (R. Antwerp FC), no one has registered more high-intensity runs (> 24 km/h) than Castro-Montes, namely 6.7 kilometres or just over 10 percent of his total distance covered. The 25-year-old right midfielder is the ideal turbo for the 3-5-2 formation.

On the left flank, Stats Perform's data point in the direction of Gerardo Arteaga (23) for his running and dribbling ability. The Mexican of KRC Genk dribbled his opponent six times in the play-offs. His actions resulted in four chances. Amongst wingbacks, only Joris Kayembe (7) managed more dribbles and only Sergio Gómez (6) created more chances. Arteaga also pulled off 104 sprints, slightly less than Nurio Fortuna and Sam Vines.

In midfield, Marco Kana's (19) development during the play-offs was particularly notable. The Anderlecht talent proved to be a beacon of stability, as 89.59 percent of his passes arrived at a teammate. He barely sacrificed accuracy on the opponent's half, with the highest passing accuracy of all players (85.6 percent). Kana also stood his ground defensively, intercepting the ball 8 times and stealing the leather from his opponent 33 times. Impressive statistics that earn him a spot in the Stats XI of the Playoffs.

Rob Schoofs (28) is having a fantastic season for KV Mechelen and did not slow down in the Europe Play-offs. Nobody produced more chances (11) than Schoofs. The midfielder also drawed10 fouls from his opponents. Only two players provoked more fouls. Schoofs accounted for 1 assist and also proved to be precise in passing with an accuracy of 82.82 percent.

With Kana and Schoofs as defensive midfielders, Charles De Ketelaere (21) is given all the freedom he needs to flourish offensively. The 'Youngster of the Year' confirmed his talent in the 2021-2022 season. We have already highlighted his efficiency in a previous #stathursday, but CDK's running and dribbling statistics are among the best in the Jupiler Pro League. Ten times he successfully dribbled past his opponent. Nobody did better than the Bruges golden boy. With 7 chances, he was one of the most productive players in the play-offs.

The youngster is also growing in strength and is becoming more and more solid. On 15 occasions did his opponents make a foul to stop De Ketelaere. He also won 51 duels in the playoffs. In both statistics, no one managed to surpass him. 

The attacking front of this ideal eleven is carried by a surprising duo, who made their mark in the play-offs. Francis Amuzu (22) may have been on the bench more often than he liked in the regular season, but he emerged with four goals in the play-offs. 'Ciske' was the only player to score a hat-trick in the six games. The agile attacker of RSC Anderlecht is a scourge for every opponent, as he dribbled seven opponents. With 88 sprints, Amuzu also weighed heavily on the defences.

With Amuzu as a shadow striker and Vakoun Issouf Bayo (25) in the point, many goalkeepers would have their hands full. The Ivorian of Sporting Charleroi proved to be extremely efficient in the Europe Play-offs. From 3.04 expected goals (xG), the Ivorian managed to score 4. He was also good for 1 assist. Bayo has a great fighting spirit, as he won 19 aerial duels. Only two strikers did better: Darko Lemajic (34) - who was preferred to Bayo at KAA Gent - and Genk's Paul Onuachu (21). The striker also registered 109 sprints, the most of all the attackers behind Anderlecht's Christian Kouamé (165). 

This article was created with the insights delivered by StatsPerform. Our exclusive partner collects the most diverse performance data from all the matches in the Jupiler Pro League and 1B Pro League. The agreement with StatsPerform has three goals: technical support for our clubs, better quality reporting on Eleven Sports and stronger communication.

Among other things, our clubs will be able to rely on live tracking data, so trainers can make adjustments based on data during the matches. As for the television and communications part of the partnership, the Pro League and Eleven focus on creating added value for fans. The official data from StatsPerform offers fans a unique insight into the performance of their favorite club or player.

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