Analysis

The Debrief: Kante adds the energy but Saints frustrate Tuchel’s Blues

We look at some of the pertinent statistics from yesterday’s draw with Southampton, with the point ensuring Chelsea remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel but will be looking to move onto the next game quickly.

The Blues fought back to claim a share of the spoils at St Mary’s, with Mason Mount’s penalty cancelling out Saints’ opener through Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino.

Chelsea, yet again, dominated the possession with a mammoth 71 per cent compared to Southampton’s 29 per cent. However we couldn’t turn that dominance into a win, with a number of chances and half-chances spurned.

Mount the man on the spot

With regular penalty taker Jorginho and stand-in Tammy Abraham both off the pitch when we were awarded our spot-kick, duties were handed over to Mount to step forward. The England international made no mistake, calmly slotting home and sending Alex McCarthy the wrong way.

Mount is now the 25th different player to score a penalty for Chelsea in the Premier League, with the Blues having had more penalty scorers than any other team in the competition's history. Not bad!

The midfielder was Chelsea’s best player against the Saints, scoring our only goal and looking a danger throughout.

He showed Jan Bednarek a clean pair of heels with a lovely bit of skill and showed his importance to this Chelsea display by completing over 76 per cent of his passes.

Mount completed three dribbles during the 90 minutes, with one seeing him brought down clumsily in the box by Danny Ings for that all-important spot-kick

Kante offering the energy

Alongside Mount in the Chelsea midfield was the familiar sight of N’Golo Kante, who returned to the starting line-up for the first time under Thomas Tuchel in the Premier League.

Our German head coach has spoken in glowing terms of the Frenchman in recent weeks, admitting he tried to sign Kante during his days in charge of PSG, and revealing his excitement to work with him at Chelsea.

After easing Kante back into the side with a number of substitute appearances following a spell out inured, our No.7 was back at the heart of midfield against the Saints and offered a timely reminder as to what he can offer.

Kante made a game-high seven tackles, along with five interceptions – more than anyone else on the pitch – and won three of his aerial duels.

Sat next to Mateo Kovacic as the base of our midfield, Kante completed 80 per cent of his passes and had 105 touches, highlighting just how involved he was.

Tuchel remains unbeaten

It certainly wasn’t a vintage Chelsea performance under Tuchel at St Mary’s, but that’s not to say the Blues didn’t perform well and, possibly, deserved to take all three points. However, the point earned on the South Coast ensures that our German coach remains unbeaten in his first seven games in charge (six in the Premier League, one in the FA Cup).

Four Premier League victories, plus the FA Cup win at Barnsley, are sandwiched between a draw in Tuchel’s first game in charge against Wolves and yesterday’s stalemate.

After that Wolves goalless draw, Tuchel called on his players to be ‘more deadly’ and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Blues react positively on Tuesday, when we face Atletico Madrid in Bucharest in the Champions League. That, however, is a totally different ball game to domestic competitions.

Still, the German is really making his mark at Stamford Bridge and the basis comes from making us hard to break down, first and foremost, before allowing the attacking players to express themselves in the manner that they do.

Since Tuchel's first game in charge of Chelsea at the end of January, we have allowed just 1.7 shots on target from our opponents per Premier League game.

In fact, the 10 shots we have faced, which have come from just six league games, is the lowest ratio of any side in the competition in that timeframe, making it much more difficult for our opponents to find a way through.

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