Analysis

The Debrief: Wingers key to finding a way through

Our statistical analysis of yesterday’s FA Cup victory against Morecambe highlights the significance of the two wingers and how a youthful midfield took control of proceedings…

The Shrimps from League Two were comfortably dispatched in the end, the gulf between them and Premier League opposition ultimately proving too much as goals from Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz did the damage.

Thriving out wide

Against a compact, low-block defence, the width of our attack was always going to be key and both Chelsea wingers were influential in the victory. Hudson-Odoi claimed an assist for Mount’s opener and a goal of his own early in the second half, teed up beautifully by Hakim Ziyech’s deft left-footed clip over the top.

Ziyech was purposeful, precise and penetrative throughout, often drifting infield from the right flank to cause problems in more central areas. His tally of six successful dribbles was more than the rest of the home side combined and four key passes was a joint high in the game alongside Cesar Azpilicueta.

On the opposite side, Hudson-Odoi looked hungry from the first whistle, moving the ball quickly and darting into space intelligently. The movement for his goal was praised by manager Frank Lampard afterwards, a sharp sprint in between defenders into the centre-forward position and an emphatic finish making it 3-0.

Between them, Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech had 160 touches of the ball and over 13 per cent of the possession. In total, 46 per cent of our attacks came down the right and 24 per cent down the left.

Youthful midfield control

The average age of the Blues midfield was just over 20 years old, with Billy Gilmour handed just his second start of the season following a lengthy knee injury. The Scottish teenager was metronomic in a deep playmaker role, recording the third-highest number of touches (110) and passes (103) on the pitch, with a 92 per cent pass completion rate, as well as two key interceptions.

Mount celebrated his 22nd birthday in style, finding the bottom corner to break the deadlock and get himself on the scoresheet for the first time since September. He wasn’t the only player to end a goalless run; Werner and Havertz also both found the back of the net after enduring frustrating spells in front of goal.

Havertz’s aerial prowess was particularly evident, his headed goal from Azpilicueta’s cross late on following a headed assist for Werner right at the end of the first half. The German’s 6ft 2in stature lends itself to threatening in the air and could be a useful weapon in the weeks ahead.

Other statistical highlights

The Blues had 25 shots on goal, led by Werner and Havertz with four apiece. Eight of the team’s efforts were on target, 11 were off target and six blocked.

Toni Rudiger had game-high figures for possession (10.8 per cent) and pass completion (95 per cent). Next best was Azpilicueta (10.7 per cent possession), Kurt Zouma and Emerson Palmieri (both 93 per cent pass completion).

Chelsea have reached the FA Cup fourth round for the 23rd consecutive season.

Mount has now scored more goals from outside the box than any other Chelsea player since the start of last season.

More from chelsea