Analysis

The Debrief: Chilwell creates but rare Blues loss from leading position

Using the data from yesterday’s game against Wolves, we take a statistical look at aspects of a contest that went against the Blues right at the end, and landed us with a second away defeat in four days…

Unlike at Everton on Saturday, Chelsea were able to find the net at Molineux on Tuesday evening and indeed took the lead shortly after half-time with Olivier Giroud’s seventh goal in the past month.

However, Wanderers equalised midway through the second half through Daniel Podence before snatching all three points when Pedro Neto scored five minutes into added time. It is the first time Frank Lampard’s side have lost consecutive games this season and the first time in the Premier League since this time last year.

At Everton we hit the post twice. At Molineux, Kurt Zouma headed a Mason Mount corner onto the crossbar towards the end of the first half with the game goalless. Chelsea have now hit the woodwork seven times in Premier League games this season with only West Ham and Tottenham doing so more.

Left-leaning Blues

In the previous match on Merseyside, it was Reece James down the right who provided our greatest attacking threat. At Wolves it was the left flank to the fore, with Ben Chilwell the most creative player.

As well as providing the assist with a cross for Giroud’s goal, our left-back made game-high three key passes and his crossing total was way ahead of any other player on the pitch. He crossed 19 times in the 90 minutes. By way of comparison, Neto was next highest with eight and James was Chelsea’s second most frequent crosser with five.  

Chilwell also had the most touches (116) of anyone in the game, and significantly more than the holding midfielders and centre-backs who often dominate this statistic. Chilwell touched the ball 22 times more than Wolves’ Ruben Neves and 40 times more than N’Golo Kante’s 76. James also had 76 with Thiago Silva and Zouma on 74 and 70 respectively.

The average position map gives a good indication of how Chelsea’s attacking down the left predominated, with Christian Pulisic our most forward player. Both he and Timo Werner (our two wide attackers) were on that side more than the right.

Pulisic made four successful dribbles and was fouled five times. Overall, dribbling was a strong aspect of the game for Wolves, with Podence successful with six and Nelson Semedo four. As a team they outweighed Chelsea by 15 to 10 for dribbling success, and that despite Adama Traore, whose involvement from the bench was limited, contributing just one.

Aerial contest contrast

While Chelsea ranked higher in total shots during the game (13 to 12), more of Wolves’ were on target – four to our three.

Four of their total shots came from Neto with two on target including the winning goal. James, Giroud and Werner had three apiece for Chelsea, with James and Giroud each managing one on target, the latter’s of course our goal. He joins Werner on eight goals as his team’s topscorer in all competitions this season.

While our expected goals figure was the lowest for two months at Everton (0.66), it was back up yesterday and was reflected by our part of the scoreline. Wolves overachieved on xG with their two goals scored.

Where Wolves were strong in the game, including in the build-up to their equaliser, was in winning the ball aerially. They won 27 contests in the air to Chelsea’s 12 and Willy Boly with seven and Romain Saiss and Leander Dendoncker with four apiece all won more aerial duels than our best, Zouma, with three.  

The home side also won more tackles, 17 to 14, and made more interceptions, 14 to 7.

Possession did even out in the second half (Wolves 48 per cent, Chelsea 52) compared with the first half (42 to 58) and total passes attempted followed a similar pattern.

All three of Wolves counter-attacks came in the second period, with Lampard highlighting his team’s failure to prevent those as a disappointment.

It is the first time this season his side has lost a game in which they have led.
 

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