Luton Town possess some excellent options at the back, although, they have been hit hard with injuries in the defensive department throughout this campaign.
Emerging as perhaps one of, if not the most important player in the squad, Kal Naismith has been excellent in Luton colours all season.
Arriving in January 2021, Naismith arrived as a versatile option, with it not initially seeming clear where his best position might be.
However, he has made the left centre-back position his own this year, whilst also impressing when playing in the central role within a back three.
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The Scotsman may have missed little spells during this season but it has been much more difficult for club captain Sonny Bradley, who has been unavailable for around 50% of Championship matches this season.
Given the continued rise of Luton’s defensive options, it remains to be seen if Bradley would be able to pave his way back into the starting XI at Kenilworth Road.
Here, using Wyscout, we take a look at the statistics, comparing Naismith’s and Bradley’s involvements thus far this season…
Winning 63.5% of his defensive duels during the 2021/22 campaign, Naismith has also won 57.9% of his aerial duels, with Sonny Bradley winning 78% of his defensive duels and 62.9% of his aerial ones.
Naismith has also averaged making 5.31 interceptions and 2.48 clearances per game, which are two more measures that Bradley possesses higher figures for, 6.15 and 4.57 respectively.
The data does seem to match the on-the-eye situation, with Bradley appearing to be more dominant from a defensive perspective, although, the Scotsman does still possess strong numbers.
Progression and passing analysis
Visually speaking, Naismith’s best attribute is bringing the ball out from the back and progressing the play, something that is backed up by the stats.
Naismith averages 2.25 dribbles per game, with 72.3% of those being successful, whilst he averages 1.68 progressive runs per 90.
Bradley averages 0.44 dribbles per game, with only 50% of these being successful, with his progressive runs figure per 90 at 0.22.
Unsurprisingly, Bradley (82.2%) possesses a better pass accuracy percentage than Naismith (76.3%), with the latter proving to be slightly riskier and more positive with the ball at his feet.
This notion of Naismith being more positive on the ball is represented by his average number of passes to the final third per game (8.5) and forward passes (18.5), compared to Bradley’s 4.55 and 15.55 respectively.