Why Derby County ace Jason Shackell should have won the Championship’s POTM, not Lucas Joao

Derby County West Stand

Sheffield Wednesday’s Lucas Joao was awarded with the honour.

Sheffield Wednesday’s talented striker Lucas Joao has been named the PFA Fans’ Championship Player of the Month for November, as reported by Sky Sports.

The 22-year-old beat competition from Derby County’s Andreas Weimann and Leeds United’s young midfielder Alex Mowatt, two solid competitors following a decent month.

Joao scored three goals in four matches, including the winner against Huddersfield Town in a come-from-behind 3-1 victory as well as a late equaliser in the entertaining 2-2 draw at Blackburn Rovers.

But interestingly, the Portuguese striker only started one game in November and actually featured for just 191 minutes – proof that he is still not quite ready to feature for the whole 90 minutes for Wednesday.

The Owls took seven points from November, a decent return as they edged towards the playoffs.

But once again Championship pundits, observers and supporters in general are favouring attacking players and completely dismissing the talents of those at the opposite end of the pitch.

Joao had a solid month, as did Weimann and Mowatt, yet it is borderline criminal how Derby County's Jason Shackell didn’t even make the top three… Let alone not win it.

The Rams have conceded just 11 goals in 19 league matches this season, and rather astonishingly just two goals in ten matches against top half opposition – form which has seen them rise to 3rd in the table.

The 32-year-old centre-back re-joined Derby from Burley in the summer, and his partnership with Richard Keogh gets better and better as they have allowed just five goals in their last 14 matches.

  Tackles per GameEffective Clearances per GameInterceptions per GameAerial Duels Won per GameDef Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameAppearancesMins Played
Jason Shackell 0.25 3.75 0.75 3.75 6.5 3.5 4 360

In the month of November, Derby conceded just one goal as they took nine points from 12, their only defeat coming virtue of a narrow 1-0 loss at rivals Nottingham Forest.

And as per the table provided by Opta Stats above, Shackell’s dominating displays can be illustrated by his contributions to key defensive areas over the four matches.

The highlight of Derby’s month was a 2-0 win at Hull City, prompting the Tigers’ first defeat at home.

Shackell was immense at the KC Stadium, and he proved just as good as his side claimed a 0-0 draw against Joao’s Wednesday side last Sunday in a game the Owls edged but found no way through.

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