There could be a fair amount of squad turnover at Ashton Gate this summer but one man that looks unlikely to be on the move is Tomas Kalas.
The centre-back was given the captaincy by Dean Holden at the start of the season and has been one of City’s most consistent performers this term – both under Holden and new boss Nigel Pearson.
But how has he been different in 2020/21 than last season? We’ve highlighted some of the trends we’ve seen emerge to address just that…
Staying injury free
The Robins have been plagued by injuries this season with the problems getting so bad at points that reports of unrest among the returning players emerged.
For the most part, Kalas has managed to stay off the treatment table this term, which is a major positive given that he managed only 23 Championship appearances last season due to persistent issues.
The City captain has already played more than 1,000 minutes more this term than he did in 2019/20 and he’s been a welcome presence because the Robins haven’t been at their best.
Kalas’ consistency will surely have convinced Pearson, if he needed convincing, that the Czech international is a player he can build around moving forward.
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Less long balls forward and to the final third
Defensively, Kalas’ season has been much the same. The City captain has continued to read the game well and use his physicality to shut down opposition attacks – averaging 6.79 interceptions, 4.2 clearances, 12.8 recoveries, and 1.41 blocked shots per 90 this season (Wyscout).
However, there’s been a marked change in his distribution. While the central defender averages fewer passes per game this season – likely a consequence of the fact that the Robins have controlled fewer games – his attempts to play the ball long have dropped significantly.
The 27-year-old has averages just 2.67 passes to the final third per 90 this season, down from 4.09 last term, and just 0.41 passes to the penalty area, down from 0.56.
That might suggest that City have looked to be less direct this season or rather that Kalas has looked to offload the ball to a teammate closeby, rather than looking to pick out the Robins attackers himself.