THE DATA DAY: CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY
Rafael Benitez was pleased with our solid defensive performance and a first clean sheet in 11 games, but felt our link-up play in attack requires improvement if we are to see the best of a creative front four…
This was our first goalless draw at Stamford Bridge since March, and the first time we had failed to score at home since May. City's only previous failure to score this season was away at West Ham at the start of this month. It was our first clean sheet in 11 games.
The Blues made 17 successful interceptions (Ramires made five alone), 15 in our own half, and attempted 42 clearances.
City shaded the aerial duels, winning 16 to our 13. Petr Cech launched only two kicks long, and both were won by away players. Joe Hart's two long clearances were won by Chelsea men, showing the defences truly were on top.
City, while being renowned for their short passing style, also sent a lot of crosses into the Chelsea box. Of 34 attempted (including 10 corners sent into the area), 11 found a visiting shirt, perhaps explaining why Roberto Mancini opted for Edin Dzeko in attack.
Chelsea's men attempted 24 'take-ons' during the game, but were successful with only six. City men won 24 of 31 tackles they competed for, Chelsea 19 of 24. Cesar Azpilicueta won all six of his, Yaya Toure five from five.
Juan Mata was Chelsea's best passer (45/52), operating mainly down the right flank with he and Azpilicueta linking up 27 times successfully.
John Mikel Obi, a regular safe-keeper of possession, hit 36 of 40 accurately. Eight City men completed more, with Toure the top man, hitting 65 of 73 on target.
City may boast David Silva, Sergio Aguero, James Milner and Toure, but the top passer in the final third was Gareth Barry, who completed 20, three more than Silva in second place, and six more than Eden Hazard, Chelsea's top man.
Our 42 per cent possession was our least of the season, and we completed 305 passes to City's 425. The 105 passes we attempted in the final third was also our lowest number of the campaign so far, highlighting Benitez's point that our service must improve. City's 174 shows it was they who were the more threatening on the day.
Chelsea attempted six shots during the 90 minutes, with City's Hart forced into just one save. Both were our lowest figures of the season, against last season's tightest defence in the league.
Three of those six shots were inside the area, compared to eight of City's nine.