15 statistical leaders from the 2018/19 Scottish Premiership thus far

Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu, left, has enjoyed some physical battles with opposing defenders. Picture: SNS
Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu, left, has enjoyed some physical battles with opposing defenders. Picture: SNS
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With the international break here to annoy us until the real stuff starts up again, it’s time use this unwelcome break to take stock. Using Wyscout.com, Craig Fowler has pored over the advanced statistical categories and collated the most notable leaders in order to paint a picture of the season so far.

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No player has been fouled as much (21) or committed as many fouls (31) this season as Uche Ikpeazu, which says a lot for the Hearts striker’s incredible strength. It’s difficult to stop him without resorting to nefarious means, while a shoulder barge from the big man is capable of sending any opponent in the league flying into the stand.

Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly has sent the ball flying into the air more than any other, attempting 142 long passes through eight games, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering Livingston’s direct (though undeniably successful) tactics. His team-mate Declan Gallagher is also in the top five for that particular stat and has attempted the most of any outfield player (90).

Sticking with goalkeepers, Zander Clark leads the league in goals conceded (18), shots faced (64) and saves made (46). The latter two are by a comfortable distance, which doesn’t say a lot for St Johnstone’s defence so far this season, though at least Joe Shaughnessy has the best percentage of aerial duel success, winning 74.14 of his battles thus far.

At the other end, Motherwell attackers Curtis Main (99) and Conor Sammon (21.83) have fought for the most headers overall and per 90 minutes, respectively. This says a lot about Stephen Robinson’s weekly gameplan, though probably not too much that you didn’t know already.

It’s also no surprise to see that Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie is officially the most combative player in the league, getting involved in 91 defensive duels. Though his 18.68 success rate is well behind that of leader Craig Halkett (41.67).

The Livingston stopper has faced two of the 39 crosses attempted by Rangers full-back Borna Barisic. The Croatian’s presence atop the pack is quite surprising, considering he’s played 326 fewer minutes than Gary Mackay-Steven, the man in second.

The Aberdeen winger can at least console himself with being the most daring dribbler in the league as he’s taken on opponents on 80 separate occasions. However, it is Hibs’ Daryl Horgan who has had most success with completing 81.63 per cent of his dribbles.

Kilmarnock striker Eammon Brophy can claim to be the most active forward thus far, attempting the highest number of shots (26) and being caught offside the most (12). He can not, however, claim to be the most accurate striker (though he is in the top five) as both Steven Naismith of Hearts and Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths share that honour with 61.11 per cent of their efforts on target thus far.

Speaking of the reigning champions, they have the top three players for passes attempted. Although, somewhat surprisingly, last year’s leader Scott Brown (461) is in third behind Dedryck Boyata (573) and Mikael Lustig (527), indicating that teams are looking to reduce Brown’s influence after his Player of the Year campaign.