The best 11 Ireland team based solely on the stats 2 weeks ago

The best 11 Ireland team based solely on the stats

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Mick McCarthy's team is predictable - the only real debate is who he'll go for between Robinson and Browne - but what if...

What if he went on the stats alone?

What if the shape and the personnel was decided purely on statistical analysis?

You'd get a 5-3-2, what many Irish fans are crying out for, and you'd get a surprise in midfield.

Whilst NOW TV has been bringing us closer to the Premier League and Champions Cup action, we're on international break now and the stakes are high - win tonight and Ireland through. Simple.

And here's the team which the form is saying they should play.

The WhoScored stats-based analysis ranks individual players on their performances in a given position. Players all begin on 6 and are awarded or subtracted points for their passing, shooting, tackling, interceptions, blocks, chance creations, dribbles and aerial battles. For the purposes of deciphering form, we're looking at the holistic view and taking their score out of 10.

Darren Randolph

Missed three games in two weeks but returned for the trip to QPR. Manchester United's Kieran O'Hara has played 10 games with League One Burton Albion whilst Mark Travers has been limited to League Cup games so far this season and 32-year-old Darren Randolph is still the natural selection.

Matt Doherty

Matt Doherty hasn't lost a game in two months for club or country. In his last five games for Wolves, he's averaging a form rating of 7.02 out of 10 according to WhoScored. In the absence of the suspended Seamus Coleman, Lee O'Connor is his only rival for a spot at right full back or right wing back and the Celtic man hasn't seen any action this season apart from the New Zealand game.

Ciaran Clark

Recalled to the Newcastle team at the start of October and has played every minute since that Manchester United victory. Clark has helped Steve Bruce's side to three wins and a draw in their last five matches with a form rating of 7.24 and he's the reason the formation changes when we base it solely on stats.

John Egan

The most in-form defender in the Ireland ranks. 7.27 in his last five games for Sheffield United and hasn't taken long to cement an automatic place in the Ireland team.

Shane Duffy

Hasn't been a permanent fixture for Brighton but still, obviously, a very important one. A 6.95 form rating is enough to put him ahead of some Irish midfielders and make way for five defenders.

Enda Stevens

Derrick Williams is in flying form for Blackburn but Enda Stevens is in flying form in the Premier League and it's hard to remember a time he wasn't in form. Doing well for Sheffield United, doing well for Ireland - it's no surprise that he makes the team based on stats. Derrick Williams, however, did score in his last match for his club and his last match for Ireland too.

Conor Hourihane

Hourihane is averaging 6.95 out of 10 with Aston Villa and, whilst that form is behind the rating of Josh Cullen and Alan Browne, we've weighted the Championship form of players at 90 per cent of the value of the form of a Premier League player.

Josh Cullen

WhoScored measures him at over 7.3 in recent weeks (and we calculate that at 6.58 relative to Premier League form). Showed up well against New Zealand and is highly-rated by Charlton fans and is statistically deserving of his place against Denmark - even though he doesn't stand much of a chance of featuring.

Jeff Hendrick

Whilst Alan Browne and James McClean are both playing at a level of over 7/10 in the Championship, Hendrick's 6.54 rating nudges him just ahead of them because of his Premier League weighting. Glenn Whelan has been used as a sub for Hearts in the last two games and he hasn't been involved in a winning team since September. Hendrick is a constant for Burnley and he's a constant for Ireland.

Callum Robinson

Robinson is only averaging 6.17 in his last five games but he's relatively ahead of Sean Maguire. You could make the case for playing McClean up top with McGoldrick - Martin O'Neill used him as a striker on occasion - but his form hasn't been earned in that position, Robinson's has.

David McGoldrick

Leading the line for the Blades, on form with a 7.1 out of 10 average and way ahead of James Collins who hasn't scored in seven games and Scott Hogan who has started one game since August.

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