Rotherham United earned promotion to the EFL Championship after just one season in EFL League One. Having been relegated from the Championship in 2020-21, the Millers bounced back straight away. Rotherham finished second on the points table with 90 points behind Wigan Athletic’s 92. In this article, we will analyse Rotherham United’s season in the third tier of the English Football League system.
Rotherham United finished the EFL League One season as runners-up behind Wigan Athletic, having accumulated 90 points in the campaign. The Millers’ final record stood as follows: 27 wins, nine draws and 10 losses, with a goal difference of +37. Rotherham have scored 70 goals this season, which is only the eighth-best attack in the division. It is because of their rock-solid defence that the Millers managed to earn automatic promotion on the final matchday of the season, having conceded 33 goals, which is 11 goals fewer than the next best team. Those 70 goals netted by Rotherham are 12 fewer than what xG predicted.
Shown above is Rotherham United’s shot map of the 2021-22 EFL League One season, excluding the penalties. Their top two goalscorers for the campaign are Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo, and both players underperformed on their xG. Had the team not drastically underachieved on its xG, Rotherham could have won the title. In total, the Millers have taken 674 shot attempts and scored 69 times, meaning their conversion rate for the season was 9.77 shots per goal.
Midfielder Daniel Barlaser has been the most successful threat creator for Rotherham United in the EFL League One this season from both open play as well as from set-pieces. He has produced 67.56% more threat than the next best player from the team, Wes Harding. As a result of this threat, Barlaser has provided the most assists of any man in the Rotherham squad this season, with seven to his name.
Given above is the performance metric comparison of Rotherham United in League One this season. On the left is the ranking and on the right are the values on a per-90 basis. In spite of being the top-ranked team in both xG per 90 (1.63) and xA per 90 (1.01), Rotherham come in 8th and 10th for goals per 90 (1.37) and assists per 90 (0.85), respectively. The Millers also rank 16th out of 24 teams in percentage of shots on target, with 31% of their shots testing the opposition goalkeepers.
Rotherham United have been a yo-yo club from the 2016-17 season, having alternated between the second and third tiers of the EFL system every campaign. The Millers will be hoping to end this next season in the EFL Championship. For that to happen, Rotherham need to strengthen their squad sufficiently, particularly in attack, as they have scored nearly 15% fewer than expected.