Last season, Bristol City finished in 17th position on the points table of the EFL Championship. While the Robins scored more goals (62) than any team other than the top six, they also had the third-worst defence, conceding 77 goals. Only Reading and Peterborough United conceded more, with 87 each. Knowing that they need to strengthen their defence ahead of the upcoming season, Bristol City have acquired the services of Kal Naismith from Luton Town on a free transfer after the Scotsman decided not to renew his contract with the Hatters.
Naismith featured in 42 matches for Luton Town in the recently concluded 2021-22 EFL Championship campaign, all of which were starts, and he played a total of 3694 minutes. As a left-sided centre-back, the Scotsman was most influential in the area between his penalty box and the midfield. The 30-year-old defender also provided cover for the left-back as and when he needed to make advancing runs into the final third. Naismith scored twice and provided seven assists throughout for the Hatters, making a goal contribution every 410 minutes.
Shown above are the locations of the duels won by Naismith. Naismith won a wide variety of duels, including 50/50s, aerial duels and ground-based defending duels. The majority of the winning duels came in the defensive third while some came from the midfield. The 30-year-old also won several aerial duels in the opposition’s penalty box when he came up for dead-ball situations. At 186 cm tall, Naismith mostly won aerial duels, followed by 50/50s and ground-based defending duels, both roughly equal in number.
Naismith’s pass sonar, xT map and xT timeline are shown in the above viz. The 30-year-old was the highest threat-creating member in the Hatters squad as he regularly generated an xT score of over 1.5, even occasionally surpassing 3.0. The majority of the Scotsman’s threat came down from the left-hand side of the pitch as he completed several long balls and passes into the final third. As an attack-minded centre-back, Naismith made runs into the attacking third where he often provided the extra-man advantage.
Having been released by Luton Town owing to the non-renewal of his contract, Bristol City seized the opportunity to sign the experienced Scottish defender on a free transfer, and the Robins have stolen one of the best-performing defenders in the league directly from their rivals.