In recent transfer windows, the sight of young players leaving Chelsea and moving to another club on loan has been very familiar. Financially speaking, this strategy contributes a lot to the revenue every season. Usually, most clubs would have to pay them a fee to sign their players on loan. For some of the players, this is a chance to find first-team football and ready to challenge a role when they return. But for others, they want to utilise the deal to impress their new club for a permanent deal at the end of the season.
One of the players who were a part of Chelsea’s “loanee squad” this season is Jay Dasilva. The English under-21 international arrived at Bristol City on loan along with another two Chelsea players Tomáš Kalas and Kasey Palmer. After making 32 appearances across all competitions last season and impressed for the side, his move was made permanent for an undisclosed fee.
This tactical analysis will provide you with a thorough scout report which included Dasilva’s performance last season at the Ashton Gate. Meanwhile, using statistics, we will analyse the aspects he could improve this season.
Jay Dasilva joined his hometown club, Luton Town, in 2007 before Chelsea snapped him up six years later. During his time with Chelsea under-18, he won three successive FA Youth Cup, starting in the 2013/14 season, and two continuous UEFA Youth League a season later. Before the turn of 2016, he joined Charlton Athletic on loan. He remained with the then-League One side for two seasons and played in a total of 48 matches.
Last season, Bristol City identified him as the replacement for Joe Bryan, who left the club for Fulham. They secured a season-long loan for him, but eventually, Dasilva signed a four-year contract with the club last June.
Progressive runs and attacking contributions
This season, Lee Johnson lined his side up in a 4-4-2 formation, with a view of changing into a 4-2-3-1 depends on the situation itself. Nonetheless, Dasilva was a consistent performer on the left-hand side for Bristol City. He acted as a left wing-back, providing width in attacking situations and covering gaps when defend.
As the heat map showed, he has the tendency of sticking to the left-hand side rather than roaming from his position. Also, he frequently appeared on both sides of the pitch to support the attackers while still capable of recovering his defensive position. On average, he made 1.71 progressive runs, engaged 6.3 offensive duels and won 54.8% in the Championship this season.
In most duels, he attempted to beat his marker using feints and fake movements. He also had good ball control to keep the ball in tight spaces. This shot below demonstrated a similar situation when Bristol City played Preston. When he received the ball inside the middle third, an opposition player immediately approached him. Dasilva faked him by turning the ball inside and pretended to carry the ball infield. This caused the defender to became unbalanced, allowing Dasilva to continue his run and enter the final third.
Dasilva is good at breaking into the opposition’s half, especially when there are spaces in front of him. Ideally, playing in front of him would be a right-footed player. Either Jamie Paterson, Niclas Eliasson, and Andreas Weimann are fit for this position. They would cut inside, creating spaces in the wide areas. Dasilva will then overlap into that spaces, pick up the ball and make a low cross into the box.
At Charlton, the situation was a bit different. Playing in front of him was a left-footed player who usually drifted wide. Although it was not ideal for Dasilva, still he figured out the solution and dealt with it perfectly. He picked up the ball deep, then scanning for spaces inside the half-spaces and central spaces to cut inside.
Distributing the ball
When reaching the final third, he works hard to deliver his crosses into the box. Usually, he would scan the box for potential receivers and identify the spaces around him. Placing the cross is also important as the pace and the direction decide if the cross could find its destination or not.
In the shot below, Dasilva was about to place a cross into West Brom’s 16-yard box. The away side had the numerical superiority and Jack Hunt was in a very narrow space. But he was aware that the right wing-back was in an active state and he can make a forward run, that’s why he aimed the cross into the 6-yard box for Hunt.
Dasilva could also contribute to Bristol City’s build-up if he picked up the ball deep. The shot below demonstrated Dasilva’s time with Chelsea’s youth team, where he played against Man United. He was willing to come deep and get the ball, while also cut inside and created spaces for his teammate to move in. A through ball is capable in this situation, and Dasilva executed it perfectly.
Furthermore, he can pick out a teammate using his long-range passing. With an average of 4.05 long balls per game, this shows Dasilva’s flexibility when it comes to contributing to the team’s play. This is an effective strategy when playing against a low-block team. It would unlock their defensive structure, creating spaces for his teammates to move in. This also cut short their build-up time, allowing Bristol City players to be more precise in their chances.
Usually, in 1v1 situations, Dasilva tends to stay calm and predict the movement of the opposition player. He would make a step earlier than the ball carrier and use his strength to tackle the ball. In the shot below, we can see Dasilva was facing Bowen, who intended to turn the ball to his right. Because of the distance between Dasilva and Bowen was to narrow, the former Chelsea player allowed him to dribble the ball rather than stepping in. But he also made a head start and tackled Bowen when Hull winger reached the 6-yard box.
When the opposition’s attack occurs on the other side, Dasilva would stay compact and drift inwards. This allows his opposite teammates to move towards the ball carrier and create an overload in order to recover possession.
If the opposition bypass the press and enter the final third, he will move into the box and cover up any gaps that left behind. Also, he should be able to track any potential runs from the opposition’s players and prevent him from receiving the ball.
After Joe Bryan left the club, Bristol City didn’t waste too much time looking for his replacement. And Jay Dasilva was the name who fitted their requirement. The young left wing-back didn’t take much time adapting to Lee Johnson’s tactics and immediately made that spot his.
A season had gone by and Dasilva is still living up the expectations. Many thought he could return to Chelsea and fight for a spot in the starting lineup, but he chose to stay at the Ashton Gate with Kalas. It was easy to understand his option as they still have good names for the left-back spot, which included an outstanding returnee Reece James from Wigan Athletic. Dasilva will be entering the second season with Bristol City and no doubt that he will continue to thrive down the left-hand side.
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