The transformation and renaissance of Daryl Murphy has been incredible this season.
Aged 32 years old, the Irishman joined Ipswich Town permanently following three separate loan spells with the Blues, and since being moved to a more central position, has flourished. The 6 ft 3 striker is the current top scorer in the Championship this season, and has lit up Portman Road this season with some wonderful performances. Under Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor, Murphy’s finishing has improved and his work-rate is as faultless as it has been in the previous three spells.
Much of Murphy’s career was spent on the left hand side due to his reliance on his left foot (14/24 of his goals have been with his left – 7 headers and 3 with his right foot) and his weaker foot was highlighted when he missed a glaring opportunity to put Ipswich 2-1 up against Brentford last month straight after half-time.
The above graphic from Squawka shows the placement of Murphy’s goal placement – These are more varied than the other two contenders, Bamford and Deeney, and similarly a majority of his goals are taken from within the 18 yard area – with two long shots taken as well (vs. Cardiff and Brighton – I believe?)
Shots however, are where I feel Murphy (and to an extent his injured partner in crime David McGoldrick) fall down – The two have taken he most shots in the league, which could attribute to Murphy’s profilic goalscoring (though some have been goals of real quality)
This moved Murphy’s conversion rate (goals per shot taken) to 15.8% – lower than that of Bamford (16.8%) and Deeney (17.3%) – He is also the main contributor to Ipswich’s goals with 35% of the goals scored in the Championship this season scored by the number 9. This said, his goalscoring has dropped off in 2015 along with Ipswich’s form and the emergence of new signing Freddie Sears. However, this has allowed Murphy to display his other attributes – his aerial prowess through flick ons and wins, as well as his tireless running along the opposition back four. Holding up the ball has meant that he has been able to bring other players into the game as Ipswich move forward.
The style that Ipswich have played this season of long forward passes and organised pressing/hard work has suited the attributes of Murphy’s game and this has been evidenced in his excellent season. The ITFC Player of the Year is a a front-running contender in the race for Championship Player of the Season, but Troy Deeney is arguably more deserving due to his prolific nature for the past three seasons. This said, without Murphy’s impact and influence, it could be argued that Ipswich – on their shoestring budget – would not be contending at the level they have found themselves this season, surrounded by teams with far better squads and finances.