Analysis

The Data Day: West Ham vs Chelsea

We take a statistical look at yesterday’s game against West Ham United, with Willian catching the eye in an ultimately disappointing derby defeat...

The Brazilian scored twice against the Hammers, opening the scoring from the penalty spot before equalising with a free-kick in the second half. That made him the first person to score a penalty and a direct free-kick in the same Premier League fixture since another Chelsea player, Cesc Fabregas, did so in 2016, also against West Ham.

Willian’s two strikes last night also mean he has now scored a Premier League goal in every single month of the year, the only person to have done so in history.

He showed impressive accuracy at the London stadium, given those two goals came from just three attempts, and all three of his efforts were on target, the most of any player on the pitch.

Both that penalty and free-kick were awarded for challenges on Christian Pulisic as he ran at the West Ham defence and it was clear he was keen to continue the success of that risk-and-reward tactic.

As well as being the joint-most fouled player on the pitch, the American attempted more dribbles than anyone else with seven and nobody successfully dribbled past an opponent more times than him, but he was also tackled three times, a game high, along with West Ham’s Jarred Bowen.

Pulisic was also clearly given licence to roam and cut inside from the wing to try and take advantage of the trouble his runs were giving the West Ham players, as his 10 touches inside the opposition penalty area were the most of any Chelsea player and his average position shows him to be our most advanced player.

We can feel a little hard done by to have suffered defeat at the London Stadium given the lion’s share of possession we enjoyed – 71 per cent, and the fact that 33 per cent of the game was played in West Ham’s final third. That dominance of the ball is underlined by our 693 completed passes, compared to just 282 by West Ham.

The contrasting styles of the two teams is further demonstrated when you break down those passes, as 629 of our 693 were short passes, compared to just 209 by West Ham, but they played the most long balls – 69 by West Ham to 33 by Chelsea.

The possession statistics also underline our willingness to play out from the back and build from our defenders, with Toni Rudiger and Andreas Christensen accounting for 19.6 per cent of the game’s possession on their own and having more touches of the ball and completing more passes than any other players on either team.

A special mention also goes to Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud, who were the only players on the pitch to complete 100 per cent of their passes.

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