Analysis

The Debrief: Mount’s creative powers and sharing the goals help Blues to the top

After returning to winning ways in the Premier League with a victory that saw us sitting top of the table overnight, the statistical analysis of our 3-1 win over Leeds United focuses on the creative excellence of Mason Mount, as well as finding different ways to win and different routes to score.

Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic got the goals for the Blues at Stamford Bridge, which welcomed Chelsea supporters for the first time since early March in an encouraging first small step back towards normality. 

Those fans had plenty to be pleased with as they made their way home, most notably a long-awaited three points against old rivals…

Magic Mason pulls the strings

Kai Havertz’s return to the team meant Mount was deployed slightly deeper in the 4-3-3 system that has become Frank Lampard’s default in the early months of this campaign. It is a position Mount has declared as his preferred, allowing him to knit play together in central areas and fashion opportunities for team-mates, as well as himself.

In addition to claiming an assist when his dangerous corner delivery was thumped in by Zouma to put us in front just after the hour mark, the midfielder recorded an impressive tally of seven chances created overall and six completed crosses.

Not only were those both game-high figures, no Chelsea player has managed more in a single Premier League match in the past five seasons, illustrating the creative force Mount is providing.

He now has the most shot-creating actions (offensive manoeuvres that result in a shot on goal such as passes, dribbles or drawing fouls) in the league for the Blues and undoubtedly helped us record an xG rating of 4.7 against Leeds, the highest of any team in the Premier League this campaign.

Lethal Giroud helps Blues shoot for the top

Goals are providing the foundation to our impressive start to the season, with Chelsea currently finding the net every 41 minutes in the Premier League, the best in the division. Giroud was back at it in SW6 with a game-high six shots and his 12th goal of the season for club and country.

In fact, the Frenchman has now scored 13 goals in his last 13 starts for the Blues, netting in six consecutive league starts. He’s the first man to do that for Chelsea since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 19 years ago.

Only Mount had more than Giroud’s three key passes in yesterday’s game and no Chelsea player won more than his three aerial duels. The 34-year-old has started the month of December with five goals in five days following his four-goal haul in Seville earlier in the week.

Chipping in

The concentration of goals is also being spread evenly around Lampard’s side, with Pulisic becoming the 13th player to score in the league this season, which is four more than any other side in the division.

Zouma now has four Premier League goals this season, taking him joint-top of our scoring chart alongside Timo Werner, and making him the league’s most lethal defender.

Finding new ways to win

In 12 league games last season when conceding first, Lampard’s side claimed just six out of a possible 36 points. However, there appears to be a greater resilience to the 2020/21 team and this come-from-behind victory over the Whites was our second in three home games following the recent 4-1 win against Sheffield United. 

Our record this term when trailing in league games is seven points from a possible 12. The last time we overturned a deficit to triumph, prior to beating the Blades, was the first game after the post-lockdown restart at Aston Villa, when Pulisic and Giroud were also on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win.

Other statistical highlights

Our ball possession of 46 per cent was the lowest at home since the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool back in September, when we played over half the game with 10 men. Leeds had 705 touches of the ball compared to our 624, though we dwarfed the shot count 23-8.

Werner had more shots on target than any other player in the game (4), followed by Giroud and Patrick Bamford with two each. Pulisic came on and had three shots blocked before finally scoring our third in stoppage time.

Ben Chilwell had the most touches of the ball for the Blues with 71. Thiago Silva and Mount were next best with 65 and 64 touches respectively, while the Brazilian’s 93 per cent pass completion was the best of the Chelsea starters.

Only Raphinha completed more than Pulisic’s five dribbles, while no player on the pitch attempted to run with the ball more than the American, despite his introduction 30 minutes in.

The Blues covered 6km more distance than their opponents at the Bridge and 11km more than their season average.

Chelsea ended the day top of the Premier League for the first time since September 2018. However, we actually had more points after 11 games last season, reinforcing Lampard’s belief that further improvements are imperative.

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