Albion Analytics' 2022/23 Alternative Awards

Whose numbers were the best during the 2022/23 season?

By Liam Tharme • 13 June 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Pervis Estupinan had a brilliant first season in an Albion shirt.

Welcome to the third edition of the annual Albion Analytics awards.

There are five awards in total, following on from last season, all data-driven in an effort to focus a little deeper than the typical goals/assists related awards:

  • Data darling (best underlying numbers): Lewis Dunk
  • Best U23 (aged under 24 at end of season): Moises Caicedo
  • Signing of the season: Pervis Estupinan
  • Best creator: Pascal Gross
  • Best non-goalscorer: Levi Colwill

Data darling (best underlying numbers): Lewis Dunk

Club captain Lewis Dunk had arguably his best ever Premier League season, with only Pascal Gross (37/38) starting more games than the England international (36). He took the most touches (3,521) and attempted the most passes (3,208) of any player in the entire league, such was his importance in De Zerbi’s build-up play. Dunk ranked second among teammates for passes to the final third (178), who had his best per 90 performance in that metric compared to previous seasons.

And Dunk still showed his box defending side, making the most ball recoveries (253), clearances (81) and blocking the most opposition shots (27) of any Brighton player.

Best U23: Moises Caicedo

One of the eight official Premier League Young Player of the Season contenders, Caicedo shone in a midfield double pivot in De Zerbi’s 4-2-3-1, in his first full Premier League season. He completed the most passes to the final third (181) of any Brighton player, and ranked total passes completed as well as through balls.

Caicedo thrived at right-back in the final games of the season, while his 100 tackles were the second-most in the entire Premier League behind Fulham’s Joao Palhinha (147), meanwhile only Declan Rice (63) had more interceptions than Caicedo (56). Among his clubmates, only Levi Colwill (71.4%) and Adam Webster (69%) had better aerial win rates than the Ecuador international (64.9%). A true all-rounder. 

Signing of the season: Pervis Estupinan

There were big shoes to fill for Estupinan when he replaced Marc Cucurella, last season’s player of the season, and he did just that and more.

He was Brighton’s top player for successful crosses into the box (19), ranking third for assists (five) and fourth for expected assists (5.4). And yet, only his compatriot Caicedo had more tackles plus interceptions than Estupinan (98), who was all-action down the left flank and combined excellently with Kaoru Mitoma, offering the Japan winger forward passes and constant supporting overlaps.

His positive impact on the team is evident in comparing the per-game output when Estupinan started (31 times) versus without him in the starting XI (7 times): Brighton had a higher win rate (48.4% vs 42.9%), took more shots (16.6 vs 13.9/game), scored more goals (2 vs 1.6/game) and averaged significantly more possession (62% vs 53.7%).

Best creator: Pascal Gross

The German retains his trophy, taking the award for the third consecutive season.

In reality, it was not a close contest, with Gross among the best creators in the entire league. Only eight players bettered him for assists (8), though he ranked fifth for expected assists (10.9), having created chances of even higher quality than what his teammates scored, and the German midfielder also ranked inside the top ten Premier League players for successful passes into the penalty area (69) and shot-creating actions (138).

Solly March (140 shot-creating actions) was the only Albion player to better him in any of those metrics, and the winger (17) also pipped Gross to the top of the big chances created list, with Gross creating 16.

Best non-goalscorer: Levi Colwill

It will please De Zerbi that so few players were available for the award, with Brighton having 16 different Premier League goalscorers, which is actually more (including goalkeepers) than the number of players to feature for Brighton in the league in 2022-23 without scoring.

Levi Colwill only made 13 starts, but featured regularly in the starting XI post-World Cup, starting 12 of 22 games after the break. He had the best aerial win rate (71.4%) of any Brighton player to contest at least ten aerial duels, and he made the most progressive passes per 90 minutes (4.8) of any Premier League central defender.

Such was his defensive composure — as a 19-year-old in his debut Premier League season — that Colwill was fouled more times (10) than fouls he committed (8), even when tasked with man-marking Martin Odegaard and defending high upfield in the away win against Arsenal.