Blackburn Rovers have completed the signing of Welsh international winger Sorba Thomas from EFL Championship rivals, Huddersfield Town. He is currently playing his third consecutive season in the Championship and has been a top performer for his side since the last season. However, his team is struggling in the relegation zone, so he decided to play for a side that is fighting for promotion. Blackburn Rovers have lost their early-season momentum and are now sitting fourth, 14 points behind the second automatic qualification spot. They needed some players to bolster their attacks, and Thomas is a player who could be handy for them in their race for promotion. Sorba Thomas gave some excellent performances for Huddersfield last season and was on the radar of a few clubs. We now look at some of the stats of the winger that show how the winger can prove to be the game-changer for Rovers in the second half of the campaign.
Sorba Thomas has made 23 appearances for Huddersfield Town this season. The 23-year-old winger has provided six assists to his teammates. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player in comparison to other right-wingers in the EFL Championship. It can be observed that Sorba Thomas had a decent season for his side. They are currently sitting in the relegation zone, and this is one of the reasons behind the low percentile rank.
Last season, Thomas was in the form of his life. He made 46 appearances and went on to score three goals. The player also provided 12 assists. The team was fighting for promotion last year, but this season they are battling relegation. This is one of the reasons why there is a difference in the percentile rank between the attacking stats of this season and the attacking stats of last season.
Threat from the wings
Sorba Thomas is a winger who relies more on his pace than the skills that he possesses. The player carries constant threats from the right flank. The above visuals show winger actions as well as box penetrations made by the player in the current season. The Welshman attempts 5.02 dribbles and has a success rate of 50.5%. The numbers are a bit similar to last season when he averaged 4.68 dribbles with a 61.4% success rate. Adding to this, the player attempts 5.47 crosses per 90 minutes and delivers 33.1% of these crosses. The box penetration map shows that Thomas is versatile and can feature on both wings. He sometimes makes direct runs to the opposition penalty box or stretches the opposition defence and then tries to penetrate the box.
Sorba Thomas’ ability to get past the defender has helped him earn a few fouls in both seasons combined. He has won 87 fouls, and that includes a penalty win as well. The player has also picked up a few fouls on the edge of the opposition’s penalty box.
The creative side
One of the primary reasons why Sorba Thomas has made a name for himself is because of his ability to provide assists to his teammates. The winger has already provided six assists in the current season. Thomas attempts 21.89 passes per 90 minutes but has a very low accuracy rate of 60.7%. These include 5.25 passes to the opposition’s penalty box, with a 39.7% accuracy rate. Looking at the above map, we can observe that Thomas is active on set-piece duties. The winger has provided four assists from corners.
Last season, the winger provided ten assists. He was exceptional on the wing for his side. He attempted 23.84 passes per 90 minutes and had an accuracy rate of 68.3%. These passes included 3.86 to the opposition penalty box per 90 minutes and had an accuracy rate of 42.2%. There is a massive improvement in the passive to the penalty area stat. Last season, his shot assists averaged 2.12 and this season the average has dipped a bit to 1.63 per 90 minutes. These numbers are good from Blackburn Rovers’ point of view, as the player is able to create around two goal-scoring chances per match.
One of the areas where the player would like to improve is his ability to score goals. The player has scored three goals in two seasons combined. The player averages 0.68 shots per 90 minutes this season, and last season the average was 0.8 shots. The accuracy rate has been low in both seasons. This season the accuracy rate is at 20%, and last season it was at 27.8%. The xG map shows that most of the shots have been attempted after coming inside from the flanks. A few have found the target, while others have gone above the crossbar or wide of the post. Blackburn Rovers will hope that Thomas improves his accuracy and finds the back of the net more frequently.
Can Thomas find a spot in the Rovers’ lineup?
Ryan Hedges plays on the right wing for Blackburn Rovers. He was signed from Aberdeen in January 2022. The forward has two goals and four assists in 25 appearances for Rovers this season. The above viz compares the stats of both players according to their percentile rank. It can be observed that Hedges has an edge over Thomas. Hedges has contributed well to the defence and is ranked highly. Sorba Thomas will have to impress the manager in the initial period so that he can find a regular spot on the side. His ability on set pieces and pace on the wings is likely to have a big impact on team selection.
The 1×2 bets and over/underlines are likely to have an impact on the signing of the player. If Thomas plays, then the odds are likely to decrease for Blackburn Rovers, especially against teams in the bottom half of the table. As for the over line, the odds rate is likely to decrease due to his ability to create threats from the wings.
Blackburn Rovers will be happy to acquire the skilled winger from Huddersfield Town. Sorba Thomas is one of the top talents in the EFL Championship. The player carries an attacking threat and will hope to show some consistency on the field.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine