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Serie A 2021/22: Chris Smalling’s season so far

Since moving to AS Roma from Manchester United, Chris Smalling is one of the few former Manchester United players to play regularly. Smalling, since moving to the Serie A side, has been one of the first names on the team sheet, whenever fit, for Roma, even after the arrival of former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. His performances at the Italian club have been good but inconsistent.

The following visualisation shows where Smalling ranks for some of the key defensive metrics this season when compared with the other center-backs from Serie A.

Chris Smalling was majorly criticised for his on-the-ball ability during his time at Manchester United. As shown in the visual, Smalling still ranks between average and below average for some of the key passing metrics this season. Another aspect of his game that he drew big criticism from during his time in the Premier League was his aerial ability. Smalling ranks in the 97th percentile for Aerial Duels won this season. Unlike most modern day center-backs, Smalling isn’t someone who creates chances regularly as indicated by his percentile rank for Passes into the final third, Passes to the Penalty area and Smart passes per 90 mins. His positioning and awareness also sometimes comes under question as he ranks a lowly 28th percentile for PAdj (Possession-Adjusted) Interceptions.

Chris Smalling might have had an opportunity to revive his career at Roma after falling out of favour at Manchester United. He has dropped in stellar performances at times but his inconsistency means that he might soon lose his place at Roma as well. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few games till the end of the season and if Smalling continues to be first choice next season.