Team of the month recognition for trio after flying starts as Portsmouth top Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford United and Wigan Athetic for involvement

Three of Pompey’s players have been named in the WhoScored Best XI for August, based on their ratings across the opening five league matches of the season, writes Sam Cox.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 11:47 am
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 12:02 pm
From left, Kieron Freeman, Lee Brown and Sean Raggett

Kieron Freeman, Sean Raggett, and Lee Brown make up three places in the back four of the team, with Pompey boasting the most players from one club within the squad. All three of the Blues defenders scored ratings higher than seven, as Pompey made a promising start to the season.

It may come as no surprise three quarters of the defence is made of players from Fratton Park as Danny Cowley’s squad registered four consecutive clean sheets in victories against Fleetwood, Crewe, and Shrewsbury, prior to a 0-0 draw with Doncaster. The only time the defence has been breached so far this league campaign was in last week’s defeat to Wigan away.

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Arriving at Fratton Park on a free transfer this summer, Kieron Freeman has already asserted himself as one of the league’s finest full-backs. As dependable on the ball as he is off it, the 29-year-old has played every minute possible of League One football so far this season.

So far this campaign, the 29-year-old has averaged 2.8 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game, while committing an average of 0.4 fouls and winning 0.8 offsides. Areas in which Freeman seemingly flourish are within his passing, maintaining possession, and providing defensive stability.

Thanks to these attributes, he is reliable for Cowley in defence and can implement the pressing and slick passing style of play the former Huddersfield Town manager wants to employ at Fratton Park. For example, Freeman averages just over 50 passes per match, of which, 80 per cent are successfully completed.

In the WhoScored rating system, Freeman has averaged a rating of 7.2 which is higher than any other right-back so far in League One. It’ll be interesting to see Cowley’s future plans for the defender after the loan signing of Mahlon Romeo from Millwall on deadline day.

Sean Raggett is the next defender in the WhoScored Best XI with a rating of 7.5, and has turned his Pompey career around following the arrival of Danny Cowley. Perhaps it comes as no surprise this is the case following the success the 28-year-old enjoyed under Cowley at Lincoln.

Raggett, of course, scored the only goal of the game when then, National League, Lincoln pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when Cowley’s Imps beat Premier League Burnley at Turf Moor in 2017.

Much like teammate Freeman, he too has played every minute of League One football this season and has been a colossus at the back for Pompey. Raggett has averaged 4.8 clearances so far this season per game, while winning the majority of aerial duels he faces.

The former Norwich City defender has led from the back throughout the opening five games this season, and averages 1.2 successful tackles per game so far. Despite his commanding figure at the back, he’s also been no slouch with the ball at his feet. His passing stats ring similar to Freeman’s, with an average of 48 per game with 73.3 percent of which being successful.

Lee Brown is the final addition in the team after featuring in the opening three wins of the season, before missing out on the trip to Doncaster. The 31-year-old did play the entirety of the defeat against Wigan, but was one of Pompey’s finer performers on the day.

The left-back scored the only goal in the victory against the Cod Army when he found himself free at the back post to receive the ball, before taking a touch and firing in the far bottom corner from an acute angle.

Brown is able to compliment Freeman and his other defensive partners thanks to the attacking ability he possesses. The former Bristol Rovers defender has averaged 1.8 key passes per game so far this season, and has it in his repertoire to deliver a fine cross into the box.

In defence he’s been no slouch either, averaging 1.5 tackles and 1.8 clearances across his four league appearances so far this campaign, with his WhoScored rating at 7.2.

The WhoScored rating system is composed from a unique, comprehensive algorithm that is calculated in real time during a live match. The rating is ranked between six (the worst) and 10 (the best).

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