When Blackpool signed Josh Bowler from the U-23 side of Everton in the summer of 2021, there were a few eyebrows raised as he did not play much for the Toffees’ reserve side in the Premier League 2 during the 2020-21 season. However, by the end of the 2021-22 campaign, Bowler became the most valuable attacker on the books of Blackpool. Bowler’s market value jumped from 900k euros to 2 million by the end of the season, according to Transfermarkt, a rise of 122.2%. The 23-year-old’s performances were key to the Tangerines finishing higher than the two other promoted teams from the 2020-21 EFL League One in the recently concluded campaign, Hull City and Peterborough United.
Bowler made 42 appearances for Blackpool in the recently concluded EFL Championship campaign. Of these, 30 were starts, and he played a total of 2824 minutes. Bowler scored seven times and assisted thrice for Blackpool, meaning he was involved in a goal every 282 minutes. The 23-year-old scored at a rate of 0.21 per 90, marginally better than than the 0.2 xG per 90 predicted. The Englishman attempted just over two shots per 90, putting him in the top 9% of forwards. The Chertsey-born attacker also registered 3.17 touches in the opposition’s penalty area per 90. Bowler attempted an astonishing 9.51 dribbles per 90 and had a success rate of 66.67%.
Bowler was predominantly active on the right-hand side of the pitch and in the final third. He completed 94 crosses for the Tangerines throughout the campaign. The 23-year-old regularly cut inside to allow for the right-back to make overlapping runs into the attacking third. The Englishman also made carries into the penalty area to generate threats.
The above viz shows Bowler’s pass sonar, xT timeline and xT map. The 23-year-old winger frequently created threats with an xT score of between 0.5 and 1.0, occasionally exceeding 1.5. As expected, most of Bowler’s xT came from the right wing, but he also generated some threat from the left flank. His sideways passes into the opponents’ penalty box produced significant threats.
Bowler has exceeded the expectations of many Blackpool fans in his first season at Bloomfield Road as he quickly became the go-to man for attacks. One can only hope Josh Bowler kicks on in the second campaign and extends his stay at the Lancashire club as his contract is expiring in June 2023.