A noteworthy player going under the radar in Serie A 2022-23 is Boulaye Dia, who plays for Salernitana as a centre-forward. The Senegal international arrived on a season-long loan from Villarreal last summer and has become an integral part of Salernitana’s game plan. Dia is having an impressive first campaign in Italy, with 12 goals and contributions under his belt thus far. He has the most goals and assists for Salernitana, and his contributions have proven indispensable with the team sitting 16th in the Serie A standings, seven points above the relegation zone. Boulaye Dia also represented his country in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, playing in all four matches and scoring one goal as Senegal made it to the knockout stages. Below are some stats from the current season to assess the player’s contributions to guiding his team to safety.
Boulaye Dia has played 21 times in Serie A this season, starting 17 matches. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats compared to other centre-forwards from the Italian top flight. It can be observed that Dia is performing well in the attacking and possession department with respect to metrics like goal contribution, shots, dribbles, accurate passes, and progressive passes. Meanwhile, it’s safe to say that as a centre-forward, Dia’s strengths are not in the defence, as seen by his low rank.
Boulaye Dia has scored eight goals for Salernitana in Serie A 2022–23. He has taken 25 shots thus far and accumulated a total of 5.35 xG. The Senegalese striker averages 1.36 shots per 90 minutes with an accuracy rate of 52%. The shot map shows that most of the attempts came inside the penalty box. He can penetrate the six-yard box with ease and has scored four of his goals from very close range. While Dia doesn’t get many attempts on goal, he has done well to convert the chances he gets and has earned some crucial points for Salernitana.
In addition to netting goals, the Senegal international has the mindset to create scoring opportunities for others. The above viz shows the shot assists delivered by Dia in the current Serie A campaign. He has recorded four assists thus far with an xA value of 1.6. It can be observed that some of the key passes are directed into the penalty box, while the others have been a few cutbacks and layoffs in the final third. Currently, Dia averages 1.18 shot assists per 90 minutes and has also created three big chances.
Passing and progressive gameplay
Besides contributing while going forward, the 26-year-old striker is good with the ball at his feet. He drops into midfield to play short passes and link-up play, while his ability to hold onto the ball is essential for his team to progress forward. Dia attempts around 19.39 passes per match with an accuracy rate of 79%. Of these passes, 1.85 are delivered to the final third with 76.5% accuracy, and 1.19 passes reach the penalty area with 41% accuracy. Additionally, he makes 3.91 backward passes per match (80.6% accuracy).
Another strong aspect of Boulaye Dia’s gameplay is his ability to progress the ball through actions like dribbles and progressive runs. From the viz above, we can see that the Senegalese striker attempts dribbles all over the pitch but sees more success in the middle third compared to the final third. While pushing forward, he also makes a few progressive runs, particularly towards the left side and through the middle of the pitch. Currently, Dia averages 3.91 dribbles per match with a 48.6% success rate along with 1.41 progressive runs.
Dia is a mobile centre forward who can carry the ball effectively and penetrate opposition lines. He performs ball-carrying actions mostly in the middle third, helping his team by stretching the play and creating spaces for his teammates. The striker has made 31 penetrating carries into the penalty box thus far, particularly from the left side. He also averages 2.44 touches in the penalty area per 90 minutes.
Boulaye Dia has proven his worth for Salernitana amid a tough season. Apart from leading the attack as a natural goal scorer, he also helps his team with his creative attributes and abilities on the ball. Salernitana will hope for the same level of performance from the 26-year-old for the rest of the season as they look to pull themselves away from the Serie A drop zone.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine