THE DATA DAY: SWANSEA CITY V CHELSEA
A late Swansea goal denied us of the three points on Saturday, but as the numbers show, it was not our finest afternoon…
Both sides attempted 11 shots, with Chelsea hitting five on target to Swansea's three. All of the home side's goalbound efforts came inside the final 20 minutes and none from inside the box, and so Roberto Di Matteo's assessment that we shaded the play seems accurate.
John Mikel Obi completed more passes than another player on the pitch, with 65 out of 68 accurate, while Swansea's Ki Sung-Yueng misplacing just one of his 63 passes. After Mikel, Chelsea's next most influential passers were all defensive players, showing our struggle to frequently get the ball into dangerous areas.
Where we are used to seeing Juan Mata completing more passes than others in the final third, on Saturday it was Mikel, with 16 of 18 on target. Playing alongside Oriol Romeu in the first half, the Nigerian spent more time getting forward than he usually does.
We attempted just 124 passes in that final third (completing 97). That figure is our second-lowest of the season, after Wigan on the opening day where we had scored both our goals in the opening six minutes and did not need to attack. It is less than half the number we tried against Norwich last month (249).
Like Chelsea, Swansea like to keep possession of the ball, and did so marginally better than we did on Saturday. They completed 426 of 483 passes at a success rate of 88 per cent, where as we hit 381 of 442 passes on target, or 86 per cent, accurately, with 48 per cent overall possession.
Chelsea's front four of Torres, Oscar, Hazard and Moses only managed to accumulatively create five chances for team-mates, so as Di Matteo said, there was a lack of cutting edge about our play.
It wasn't a game for the dribblers, with Chelsea men successfully navigating their way past an opponent's challenge just three times, Victor Moses twice and Fernando Torres once, though it is worth noting Eden Hazard was fouled four times as the Swans looked to limit the Belgian's impact.
Oscar won three of his four tackles, cementing the idea that he offers plenty more in defence than may have been expected when he arrived on these shores.
Stats courtesy of Opta.