Stats: Leeds United's top five players - Austin in, Murphy out

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As the end of the season approaches, we take a look at the five players Opta stats say have been Leeds United's best this season - second place will come as a bit of a shock.

It has been a hugely disappointing season for Leeds United supporters, especially after the start of the season seemed to show a little bit of promise. 

Brian McDermott had been given a little bit of a free reign to bring in his own players, which he did in the form of Luke Murphy, Scott Wootton and Marius Zaliukas. The season started okay, not brilliant, but well enough to see them on the outskirts of the play-offs. 

Ross McCormack was scoring left, right and centre and the results seemed to drip through at a comfortable rate. In fact, just before their incredible capitulation from mid-December onwards, they were sat in 6th position in the league. 

Since then, it has just been a car crash at Elland Road. They've won just four games since their 3-0 over Doncaster on 14th December - a run of form which has seen them drop from sixth to sixteenth, reflective of their off-field stability.

We have decided to take a look at who Opta statistics via whoscored.com say have been Leeds United's best players this season, and who they should persevere with next season:   

1) Ross McCormack - Rating: 7.16 - 41st in the Championship

  • 27 league goals scored - 17 more than any other Leeds player and the top goalscorer in the league.
  • 94 chances created - 52 more than any other Leeds player and the most in the league. 
  • 6 league assists - highest in the Leeds team, joint 12th highest in the league.
  • 127 shots - highest in the Leeds team, third most in the league. 

2) Rodolph Austin - Rating: 7.15 - 44th in the Championship

  • 1,381 passes - highest in the Leeds United team. 
  • 1,071 accurate passes - highest in the Leeds United team.
  • 129 successful tackles -  fourth highest in the league.
  • 89 shots - second highest in the Leeds United team, behind McCormack. 

3) Tom Lees - Rating: 7.13 - 55th in the Championship

  • 313 Clearances - second highest in the Leeds United team, behind Pearce.
  • 63 interceptions - highest in the Leeds United team.
  • 32 offsides won - highest in the Leeds United team.
  • 142 accurate long balls - second highest in the Leeds United team, behind Kenny.

4) Matt Smith - Rating: 7.09 - 72nd in the Championship

  • 10 goals - second highest in the Leeds United team, behind McCormack.
  • 263 aerial battles won - highest in the Leeds United team, highest in the league. 
  • 5 assists - second highest in the Leeds United team, behind McCormack
  • 74 shots - fourth highest in the Leeds United team, based on a per game ratio. 

5) Stephen Warnock - Rating: 7.07 - 81st in the Championship.

  • 53 tackles - third highest in the Leeds United team. 
  • 44 interceptions - second highest in the Leeds United team.
  • 930 passes - second highest in the Leeds United team, based on a per game ratio.
  • 25 chances created - fourth highest in the Leeds United team. 

The exclusion of Luke Murphy, Jason Pearce and Alex Mowatt may come as quite a shock to Leeds United fans, as will the inclusion of Rodolph Austin and Tom Lees. 

Rodolph Austin, the former Leeds captain, has been a considered a liability by many Leeds United fans this season. In fact, the Jamaican was disappointed with his own performances he decided to 'mutually agree' to handing the captaincy over to Ross McCormack in January.

It has been similarly disappointing season for former England under-21 defender Tom Lees as well. In my opinion, he has been outperformed in all areas by centre-back partner Jason Pearce. The former Portsmouth player has recorded the highest number of clearances in the team, which makes his exclusion from the top five all that more bizarre. 

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