We are approaching the business end of the 2021/22 EFL Championship season. Marco Silva’s Fulham are top of the table and are on track to clinch the top spot and win automatic promotion to the Premier League. Bournemouth are second and below them are eight clubs fighting for four playoff spots. This includes Paul Heckingbottom’s Sheffield United. Following a disappointing start to the season, Slaviša Jokanović was sacked as manager of the club and Paul Heckingbottom was appointed as the permanent manager in November 2021. The Blades have gradually risen in the table to currently sit ninth in the table – one point below sixth-placed QPR. One big reason for the Blades’ upturn in form is star striker Billy Sharp’s performances.
The following visualisation shows where Billy Sharp ranks among the other center-forwards in the EFL Championship.
Billy Sharp, at 36 years old and in his 11th season in the Championship, is still going strong in what is deemed as one of the toughest leagues in the world. Sharp, playing in his ninth season for Sheffield United, has scored 14 goals in 36 appearances for the Blades this season. He is also the Blades’ top scorer this season. Only five other players have scored more than Sharp this season in the league so far. With 0.46 goals per 90 minutes, Sharp ranks in the 84th percentile for goals per 90 minutes among center-forwards in the EFL Championship. Only Chris Willock (8) of QPR has more assists than Billy Sharp (7). Billy Sharp is one of the best examples for a typical old school number nine and that is why he ranks in the 94th percentile for touches in box, as he is always closer to the goal. The 36 year-old, unsurprisingly, lacks pace and is not a big dribbler of the ball. That is one metric for which he ranks below average.
Sheffield United are pushing to be back in the Premier League and if they want to secure that goal, they will want their talisman and the highest scorer in Championship history, Billy Sharp to continue his top form going into the final stages of the season.