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2018 Fulham Player Profiles: Tomas Kalas

Does the Chelsea loanee deserve another return to Craven Cottage?

Fulham v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Basic Stats: 35 appearances | 29 starts | 6 substitutions | 2,550 minutes | 0 goals | 1 assist

Economics: Year-Long Loan from Chelsea | Signed: 2017 | Contract Ends in Summer 2018

Stats by Seven-Game sequences

All data from whoscored.com

WhoScored Rating Chart

All data from whoscored.com

Radar

All data from whoscored.com

Transfermarket Value Chart

From transfermarket.co.uk

CC Thoughts: Just when you thought that Tomas Kalas didn’t do much wrong in 2016/17, he was seeming to draw the ire of many Fulham fans everywhere. He did receive a red card in only Fulham’s second game of the entire season, but even after that one poor performance did it seem like all of Fulham’s struggles were being blamed on Kalas’ doorstep every time.

Now I will say this since the now 24-year old is the first of a few center backs being profiled individually on this website: it is really hard to use statistics to measure the performance of center back play. They do have to be good at clearing lines, being strong in the air and being able to be positionally sound according to the manager’s tactics. But until we get better data, the latter of those three is hard to quantify, but that is where most supporters thought Denis Odoi ended up leapfrogging Kalas over time. Fair enough.

Slavisa Jokanovic had his opinions on both men and thought Odoi was the man to do the job. We’ll get to Odoi when it is his turn to be reviewed, but it is not as clear that his selection over Kalas in the second half of the season affected Fulham from a results standpoint as people hoped. Sure, the decision worked out for everyone involved. The problem with Kalas is, regardless of his solid 6.93 season-long whoscored.com rating and regardless of being so good in the air, he just didn’t seem to be good enough in the eyes of coaching staff and supporters.

One piece to the puzzle that is interesting is the fact that when Odoi was starting at center back, Fulham gave up just 19 goals and 21.2 expected goals in 23 appearances. Meanwhile, Kalas’ data while starting at center back was worse as Fulham gave up 34 goals and 35.8 expected goals in his 29 appearances. What needs to be taken into account, though, is how much of an influence Marcus Bettinelli was in goal since he was between the sticks when Odoi was getting the majority of his starts down the middle.

Everything is still relative, and the decisions that are made did not affect the fact that Fulham still got promoted. My point now is that Kalas returns to Chelsea as a permanent reserve and a much worse reputation than he probably deserves. It will be surprising now if he were to return to Craven Cottage, but I personally would like to have him back because you may never know when he is required now that only Odoi, Tim Ream, Maxime Le Marchand and a very raw Marcelo Djallo are in the fold. For me, that just doesn’t cry out “successful center back depth” for Premier League football at the moment. But no matter what happens, I wish Kalas the best of luck, because it’s not like he never contributed anything to the club during his tenure.

Key Stat: 68.1% aerial duels won. To prove how strong Kalas is in headers, no other Fulham player was better at handling aerial duels than him. Not Player of the Season Tim Ream (61.0%). Not his supposed upgrade Denis Odoi (56.1%). Not even “the Mountain” himself, Aleksander Mitrovic (49.1%).

Your thoughts: So what say you about Kalas. Do you think he was hard done by the supporters like I do or did he get the criticisms he deserved? Do you believe Kalas ever has a chance at Premier League football or is he nothing short of a Championship player? Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on the comments below.