When you look at Ipswich Town’s season, only a few numbers actually matter. 28 wins, 12 draws, six defeats and 96 points.

That was enough to see them finish second in the table, sealing back-to-back promotions to reach the Premier League after 22 years away. Not bad at all.

But the stats behind the campaign can paint a fascinating picture of how the Blues did. What were their strengths and weaknesses? Who stood out?

Well, let’s start with the basics. Ipswich like to attack. They’re a strong attacking side, and based on the simplest form of data, they were the best in the league for that. No other team in the division managed to reach 90 goals - they finished with 92.

Expected goals [xG], the metric that many people love to hate, would say otherwise. It shows that Kieran McKenna’s side significantly outperformed in the final third, with their number sitting at 75.1. That would place them fourth in the league behind Leicester City (85.8), Southampton (81.0) and Leeds United (80.9).

It could be used as an argument to say that Town have been fortunate, but they’ve also been really clinical and pretty trigger happy in front of goal, averaging 5.7 shots per game, the second highest in the Championship. Is it sustainable? In theory, no, but we’re sat here in May knowing that they’ve managed to do it.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Blues finished the season as top scorers in the ChampionshipThe Blues finished the season as top scorers in the Championship (Image: PA)

On top of that, other sides have done the opposite. Leicester have done well to create lots of big chances (a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score, like a one-on-one or a penalty), ranking top in the division with 142 across 46 games, but they failed to convert 81 of them. Southampton (72) and Leeds (69) also struggled more than Ipswich (66) in that regard. You make your own luck.

Set pieces have also been crucial. While Ipswich sit fourth for open play xG, they’ve scored 19 goals from set pieces. Only Cardiff City (21) have scored more. On the flip side, their set piece xG actually ranks them eighth in the division behind the likes of Swansea City, Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich City and Southampton. Once again, they’re clinical, and it’s reflected in the stats.

Moving at pace is vital for Ipswich. They’re strong on the counter, love to play out from the back and can carve through you like a hot knife through butter. They’re not overly intricate, with 3.46 passes per attacking sequence, which puts them in mid-table.

However, they are fast, and Opta Analayst’s use of ‘direct speed’ can show us that. Using metres per second, they calculate how quickly the ball progresses upfield, which is 1.88 for the Blues.

That puts them behind only Huddersfield Town and Coventry City, although their lower xG shows that the chances they’re creating just aren’t as good as Town's.

East Anglian Daily Times: Kieran McKenna made sure his side adapted to life in the Championship with easeKieran McKenna made sure his side adapted to life in the Championship with ease (Image: PA)

With their style of play, losing possession can be a problem, but their counter-pressing is strong and can actually play into their hands. They boast one of the lowest passes per defensive action (PPDA) figures in the division, showing that they’re always quick to close down, and they also sit towards the top for high turnovers (open-play sequences that begin 40 metres or less from the opposition’s goal).

In terms of the latter, they rank second behind Leeds, while only Southampton have had more high turnovers ending in shots this season.

The defensive side, however, isn’t quite as pretty. We’ve seen pundits like Don Goodman say that Ipswich will need to tighten up defensively in the Premier League, and that’s probably a fair and obvious comment to make, particularly when we look at Burnley. However, in the Championship, they knew they could outscore their opponents, particularly at home.

Town shipped a total of 57 goals this season, which is more than Bristol City in 11th, Millwall in 13th and Sunderland in 15th. 32 of those came at Portman Road, meaning that only four teams in the entire league (Preston North End, Plymouth Argyle, Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers) conceded more on home soil.

East Anglian Daily Times: Town's defensive record might not be as bad as it looks on paperTown's defensive record might not be as bad as it looks on paper (Image: PA)

It makes pretty terrifying reading when you look at it that way, but McKenna’s style has been to sacrifice defensive resilience in the name of attacking football and entertaining games. I know which one I’d choose, especially given the results his side have picked up.

We know that Ipswich haven’t been one of the strongest defensive sides in the league, but the stats show that they aren’t bad in that regard. They’ve conceded 1.2 goals a game, which puts them seventh, while their xG against (xGA) is 47.5, bettered only by Leicester and Leeds.

That shows that they’ve been pretty unlucky at the back, conceding from situations they wouldn’t be expected to. That’s not even factoring in their record-equalling total of six own-goals this season. The stats show they’ve been better than it seems in that regard.

On top of that, goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky has kept 14 clean sheets this season, putting him behind only West Brom’s Alex Palmer and Leeds’ Illan Meslier (both 18).

That being said, he ranks towards the bottom when it comes to things like save percentage (18th of 22), saves per 90 (17th) and goals prevented (18th). He doesn’t have to make many saves, but the ones he does make are usually incredible.

East Anglian Daily Times: Leif Davis broke the assist record for a Championship defenderLeif Davis broke the assist record for a Championship defender (Image: PA)

Looking further up the pitch, Leif Davis is the obvious statistical standout. 18 assists from left-back is the record for a defender in the division, and he created more chances than Norwich City’s Gabriel Sara, Leeds’ Crysencio Summerville and Leicester’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.

It’s worth noting, however, that many of them have come from set pieces. When you look at open play, Davis is nowhere to be seen, with the likes of Wes Burns and Omari Hutchinson all boasting better numbers. Seeing as the former Leeds man is a defender, that’s not a huge surprise, but it highlights how good he is from dead-ball situations.

His runs from deep are important when looking at open-play attacks. Six carries (where he’s progressed the ball by five meters or more) have ended in assists, while Hutchinson also deserves credit for bringing the ball up the pitch, despite being an attacker. He sits quite high for both shot and goal ending carries, showing how much he thrives on the ball, even from deep.

When it comes to actually putting the ball in the net, Conor Chaplin is often your guy. He’ll shoot from anywhere, more than anyone in the Championship apart from Plymouth’s Morgan Whittaker. However, there’s an argument to be made that he should have more goals. He sits all the way down in 36th for shots on target per 90, with only 29% of his efforts fitting that criteria. You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket.

In terms of being clinical, look to the strikers. George Hirst finished the campaign with seven goals from 26 games while Kieffer Moore ended up with seven from 18. If they’d been fit for the whole season, you’d think that they’d be in and around the 20-goal mark. They both sit towards the top for non-penalty xG (0.42 or Moore, 0.40 for Hirst), while Nathan Broadhead is also in the conversation when it comes to non-penalty goals.

In short, Ipswich have found a perfect balance in the final third, which is why they’ve ended the season as top scorers.

The narrative could be driven that this is a poor defensive team, but the stats show that it might not be the case.

There’s little in the way of holes to pick in this side - and that’s why they’ve managed to secure promotion ahead of some incredibly strong teams.