THE DATA DAY: SUNDERLAND V CHELSEA
The manager's view of a fine team performance, characterised by a tweak in style and an improvement in front of goal is supported by the important numbers in our regular feature…
We scored three league goals for the first time since October 20, and hit the net with three shots from five on target, the most efficiency we have shown in front of goal since beating Arsenal 2-1 in September, when we registered just three accurate attempts.
We had 55 per cent possession, which translated to 108 more attempted passes than our hosts, hitting the same 80 per cent accuracy across the 90 minutes.
With a three-goal lead achieved shortly after half-time, we conceded some territory to Sunderland in the second period, and their late pressure is evident in their 54 per cent territory.
Fernando Torres spoke of a more direct build-up, and it is true we attempted less passes than usual, particularly for a win, in the final third. With 93 of 131 accurate, we had a greater number go astray too - suggesting more risks being taken by our creative men.
To highlight this, Juan Mata completed more passes with 53 than anyone else, but uncharacteristically misplaced 15, also more than any other player.
Sunderland sent in 32 crosses on Saturday, compared to our nine. Only five of those found a stripy shirt though, with Chelsea defending effectively. It does, however, help to explain their 11 corners won on the day, and Chelsea's 45 attempted clearances, compared to Sunderland's 25. Of the 45, 26 were headed.
Torres's penalty was the first he has taken since moving to England with Liverpool in the summer of 2007.
From his four attempted shots, he hit the target with three and scored two, his first league double since April.
Mata scored with his only shot of the afternoon, while substitute Oscar didn't find the target with any of his three attempts. The Brazilian midfielder did put in an impressive show on the ball though, and despite missing the first 20 minutes, only Mata completed more than his 44 passes (Oriol Romeu also hit 17 before coming off), and he also succeeded with four out of five take-ons and won five out of his six attempted tackles, more even than Ramires.
Mata exchanged passes 26 times with both Eden Hazard and Oscar, 23 times in the Sunderland half with the Belgian. Sunderland's most effective pass was Route One from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet up to stand-in striker Connor Wickham, which paid off 10 times.
Wickham, in for Steven Fletcher, won five of his 10 aerial duels when challenged by a Chelsea man, but only one close to our goal.