Analysis

The Debrief: Defences on top as Christensen and Kante excel

A fourth consecutive home clean sheet under Thomas Tuchel helped the Blues to a hard-earned point against Manchester United, and here we use the standout statistics from the game to analyse some of the major talking points…


Blunt attacks and rising gains

There were no goals at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but the game did not lack for attempts, with 29 in all by the final whistle. We had 18 of those, with six on target and a further seven blocked. Ten were struck from outside the box.

Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech registered a joint game-high three efforts.

Just two of Manchester United’s 11 attempts were from inside the penalty area, and we were comfortably ahead when it came to Expected Goals.

Thomas Tuchel noted our second-half improvement and the stats bear that out. We had 13 shots then in contrast to five before the break, much more possession (63.3 per cent to 50.7 per cent) and a better pass completion rate (90 per cent to 87 per cent) as we forced Man United’s press backwards.

Still, overall it was our back three who spent the most time in possession, followed by N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. Harry Maguire was on the ball most often for the visitors, with the defensive-minded players successfully stopping the attackers from finding top gear. The five centre-backs on the pitch made 19 clearances between them.

Accurate Andreas

Looking more closely at our passing stats, Andreas Christensen’s numbers stand out. He completed all 77 of his 77 attempted passes with a composed display in the heart of the defence. With nine ball recoveries, three blocks and three interceptions to his name, it was a good afternoon for the Dane.

Of our 542 successful passes, 124 were completed in the final third, but just one in the penalty area. That was Ben Chilwell’s ball for Hakim Ziyech’s saved effort early in the second period.

The Moroccan’s five key passes was a game-high figure.

Overall our average pass streak was seven, compared to Man United’s four, as we preferred a patient build-up. We were dispossessed four times, the visitors’ 14 times.

Both teams preferred playing the ball on the ground, as evidenced by the fact just 12 aerial duels were contested all game.

N’Golo in the thick of it

Kante looked back to his very best by the end of the contest and played a major part in keeping Bruno Fernandes quiet. In his 201st Chelsea game Kante recorded impressive game-high figures for tackles (seven) and interceptions (four). His six ball recoveries were bettered only by Christensen and Kovacic (10) of those in blue.

The Croatian topped the charts for successful dribbles with four, and he also registered a standout 96 per cent pass completion rate.

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