Plenty of attention in this year’s Championship has been on Leeds United’s Chris Wood and Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle. But that’s allowed a certain striker to slip under the radar of pundits. By our reckoning, it’s about time he received some credit.
After all, in our books he’s the most influential striker in the division.
Step forward, Jonathan Kodjia.
Signing from Bristol City last summer for a fee estimated to be around £11m, The Cote d’Ivoire international has been Aston Villa’s standout player this year. And the statistics certainly back that up.
Taking Kodjia’s goals out of the equation, the Villans would be in the relegation zone right now, struggling to keep up with those at the bottom of the table.
In fact, the 27-year-old’s goals alone have earned Villa more points than bottom-of-the-league Rotherham United have managed all season.
Yep, the West Midland’s outfit would be a staggering 19 points worse off without his strikes.
As far as we’re concerned, nobody in the division can match those numbers.
Granted, Wood has been in deadly form for Leeds United this year, having notched up an impressive 24 goals so far this year. His goals alone have won Garry Monk’s men 20 points.
But it’s worth noting that he’s played six more games than Kodjia, who spent time away from the Championship when teaming up with his national side for the Africa Cup of Nations back in January.
In his absence, Steve Bruce’s men picked up three points from a possible nine, and failed to score in two of their three matches.
Moving on to another of the division’s most prolific strikers, Newcastle’s Gayle.
Like Kodjia, the former Crystal Palace man has won his side an impressive 19 points since the start of the campaign.
But you’d expect that from a former Premier League star. Plus, his side have headed into every game this season expected to breeze through.
Yes, he’s been in fine form – but even taking 19 points off Newcastle’s current tally, the Magpies would still be well in contention for a play-off spot.
As for Tammy Abraham at Bristol City (on loan from Chelsea), unfortunately for him most of his goals have come in games where the Robins have either lost or nicked a point. Definitely one for the future, and one of the standout players of the season in the Championship. But if we’re talking about influential front men, Kodjia is winning.
It’s been a solid few weeks for the Villans, who’ve lost just one of their last nine games – conceding two goals in the process.
A play-off spot looks unrealistic now, but we reckon the best thing that can happen to this side is for them to spend another year in the second tier of English football.
And if they can keep hold of Kodjia next season, they’ll be a real force in the division.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing