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      Norwich midfielder has been key to play-off push

      Playmaker's EFL 72: #12 Gabriel Sara

      2024/05/07 16:27

      Our quartet of football stattos is stockpiling stats for the final throes of our 'Playmaker 72' countdown - but we've still got plenty to play with for those on the periphery of our 'Top 10'. 

      It's certainly been no easy task, but - just to clarify - our '72' is less a roll call of the best footballers in the EFL and more a tribute to those players who have enjoyed the most memorable seasons while racking up the most impressive stats.

      Whatever the criteria, we're confident in our selections of the most outstanding players through the Championship, League One, and League Two and welcome any debate on the subject!

      Next up is a Brazilian we have seriously rated for well over a year now...

      Number 12: Gabriel Sara (Norwich City)

      After impressing in his debut season at Norwich in 2022/23, Playmaker made the rather bold assertion that Gabriel Sara would be a 'Top 10' contender for this season's iteration of the Playmaker 72...and we weren't far off! 

      With a wonderful left foot and bags of vision and creativity, Sara has been the most productive Canaries player in a campaign that sees them battling for promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs. 

      Sara's eye for the spectacular was evident from the off, as he scored a cracker against Southampton in Norwich's second game of the season. He has bagged an impressive total of 13 league goals from the middle of the park, more than any other central midfielder in the division, while notably out-performing his expected goals by an impressive +5.68xG. 

      Awarded the Championship Player of the Month award in August after a string of impressive displays, Sara has maintained his form and consistency, playing more minutes (4107) in the regular season than any other Norwich player. 

      One of only four players to record 10+ goals AND assists in the Championship this season, Sara's twelve assists owe much to his fantastic delivery from wide positions. 

      With more assists from corners (5) than any player in the league, Sara's ability to whip in devilish deliveries from open-play or set-pieces is a huge weapon in Norwich's armoury and he ranked third in the Championship for accurate crosses prior to the play-offs. 

      Trailing only Ipswich's Leif Davis (125) and Huddersfield's Sorba Thomas (123) for key passes this season, with 119, Sara has justified Playmaker's bold prediction last year - and we have yet to touch upon a couple of other strengths that are far less easily measurable.

      A consummate team player, Sara's versatility and selflessness are additional assets, which his manager David Wagner has praised in the build-up to the play-offs. 

      "He (Sara) always has 'team first' in his head, and it is something very special to have a player who is producing these numbers but has this in their head," Wagner told the Pink Un at the start of May. 

      Norwich will hope their sensational Brazilian star takes his form into the play-off semi-finals against Leeds United - and much of the the pre-match coverage so far suggests the Whites are aware of the threat posed by the dynamic 24-year-old. 

      Regardless of whether the Canaries achieve play-off glory at Wembley, the Premier League beckons for Sara...

      Playmaker's EFL 72...the countdown

      13: Marlon Pack

      14: Macaulay Langstaff 15: Ephron Mason-Clark 16: Dan Kemp

      17: Joe Taylor 18: Eiran Cashin 19: Ali Al-Hamadi 20: Jack Clarke

      21: Isaac Olaofe 22: Carl Piergiani 23: Jaden Philogene 24: Alfie May

      25: Will Evans 26: Jamie Reid 27: Morgan Whittaker

      28: Conor Chaplin 29: George Thomason 30: Mickey Demetriou

      31: Stephy Mavididi 32: Marc Leonard 33: Josh Sheehan

      34: Matt Smith 35: Kwame Poku 36: Illan Meslier 37: Aden Flint

      38: Ronnie Edwards 39: Josh Sargent 40: Alex Gilbey 41: Ben Sheaf

      42: Jobe Bellingham 43: Devante Cole 44: Jacob Greaves 45: Paddy Lane

      46: Herbie Kane 47: Dan James 48: Archie Collins 49: Karamoko Dembele

      50: Haji Wright 51: Dan Crowley 52: Cameron Brannagan 53: Aaron Collins

      54: Andy Cook 55: Connor Shaughnessy 56: Jannik Vestergaard

      57: Willy Gnonto 58: Ellis Simms 59: Charlie Hughes 60: Fatawu Isshaku

      61: Sam Hoskins 62: Paul Mullin 63: Chris Martin 64: Omari Hutchinson

      65: Isaac Hutchinson 66: Sam Tickle 67: Ben Hinchcliffe 68: Michał Helik

      69: Lewis Wing 70: Rob Apter 71: Kyle Walker-Peters 72: Alex Palmer


      Would you like to comment? Just register!!
      2024-05-07 18h50m by lhalliday_bart
      As a football fan, I can't wait to see the final stats for our 'Playmaker 72' countdown! It's been tough, but our top 10 is looking solid. And let's not forget about our top performers in the Championship, League One, and League Two. Excited to see who makes the list!
      2024-05-07 18h43m by dnelsons
      Twitter comment: As a football fan, I have to say I agree with your
      2024-05-07 18h12m by jgibsonson
      Disappointing that our 'Playmaker 72' countdown only focuses on players with impressive stats rather than the best ones in the EFL. Unfair to those who have had great seasons but not as many stats.
      2024-05-07 17h40m by jwhiteheadbarnes
      As a football fan, I have to say that the Relief tone of this article has me feeling excited for the final 'Playmaker 72' countdown. Can't wait to see who makes the cut!
      2024-05-07 17h00m by sjacksons_9_2_1
      As a football fan reading this article on Twitter, I have to say that I am filled with optimism for our 'Playmaker 72' countdown. It's clear that our quartet of football stattos is dedicated to bringing us the most comprehensive stats on the top players in the EFL. And while we may still have some surprises in store for us in the 'Top 10', I have no doubt that the players chosen will be well-deserving of their spots. I can't wait


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