THE DATA DAY: NORWICH CITY V CHELSEA
It looked for periods like Chelsea were on the back foot at Norwich, but the numbers tell us it was the Blues well and truly on top across the 90 minutes.
For all the home side's huff and puff in the opening half-hour, they failed to register a shot on target in that period, and Petr Cech was only called into action once over the 90 minutes, just as he was against Aston Villa. It has been a quiet Christmas so far for the Chelsea goalkeeper.
From 18 attempts, Chelsea only managed three on target, Mata's goal, his second-half quick free-kick, and Eden Hazard's late effort that was well saved by Mark Bunn.
Norwich, as Rafael Benitez identified, threatened heavily on the counter-attack. This is reflected in our 64 per cent possession, and their being caught offside four times to our one.
We were also more efficient in possession, with an 86 per cent pass success rate compared to the home side's 74 per cent. We attempted 637 passes, the most in a league game since we beat the Canaries at Stamford Bridge back in October.
Chelsea's grip on possession is highlighted by the game's top eight passers all being Chelsea men. John Mikel Obi completed 75 of 84, and David Luiz 70 of his 84. The ever-reliable Ashley Cole misplaced just one of 64.
Oscar laid on Mata's goal as he took responsibility in the final third, completing 21 of 25 in dangerous areas. Twenty of Fernando Torres's 27 attempted passes were in the final third too, showing he is dropping deeper less, as requested by Benitez.
Alex Tettey was Norwich's top passer, with 35 from 42 finding their man. In 79 minutes, Anthony Pilkington on the Norwich left wing, attempted only 13 passes, less than Petr Cech.
With a sizeable striker in Grant Holt to aim for, as well as big wide men in Pilkington and Robert Snodgrass, it is a surprise Norwich only attempted 15 crosses, and that just three of those reached their target. In comparison Chelsea completed seven of 24 attempts.
As expected, the majority of our football was played on the ground. Norwich only attempted five headed clearances in the game, Chelsea 21. Despite losing out in size, we won 11 of 23 aerial duels.
Juan Mata seemed to be the game's central figure, attempting six shots. David Luiz and Snodgrass tried three each, but only Mata, Hazard and Pilkington had efforts on target. Twelve players failed to manage one.