This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Did he do enough?
A lot of the talk going into the game was going to be about who would replace Blues captain Harlee Dean following his red card against Cardiff City in the previous week and the job fell to Jake Clarke-Salter.
The Chelsea loanee has found game time hard to come by so far this season, only making one appearance in the league, away to Wigan Athletic (via Transfermarkt).
If you take a look at his numbers, you’ll see that he did a relatively OK job. He certainly could have done better, particularly when it came to the aerial duels given that he is a central defender, but overall he didn’t disgrace himself, winning three duels in total.
There are also some things that you can’t necessarily put down as a number, most notably in the last couple of minutes when he chased down Aleksandar Mitrovic down the right flank and managed to stop the Fulham forward.
He also managed to do enough to put Aboubakar Kamara off when he was one-on-one with Lee Camp in the dying seconds of the match, forcing him to hurry his shot rather than be able to take it around the onrushing stopper.
It showed his work rate and a battling ability to compete, more than making up for the loss of Dean.
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With the captain set to be out for another two games once the international break is over, he has certainly earned himself the right to hold down that starting position as the interim defender.
It’s going to be hard for him to dislodge someone like Dean when he comes back in the starting line-up given that he’s the skipper, but that shouldn’t be a barrier for him making the first team on the whole. After all, this was a small statement made to his manager that he has what it takes if given the chance to actually perform.
As we suggested last week at FFC, lining up with three at the back could be a way for the Blues going forward, and even with Dean being brought back into the fold he could still find his way in alongside him and one of the other established centre-backs.