The Debrief: Blues blunted by disciplined Brighton press

We take a close look at the key statistics from last night’s stalemate which help explain why the Blues didn’t hit top gear against Brighton…

In recent games it has been Chelsea doing a successful job of keeping our opponents at arm’s length, but at the Bridge last night Brighton did exactly that to us by squeezing the play and limiting our time in possession in the attacking half.

So while we dominated possession with a 64.4 per cent share, half of the time it was one of our three centre-backs or Kepa on the ball.

We were not able to get our front three involved in the final third often enough (with 77 passes completed between them), testament to Brighton’s press but also, as Thomas Tuchel noted afterwards, a lack of precision in fast one-touch passing. We were dispossessed on 13 occasions to Brighton’s four. The Seagulls won 25 tackles to our eight.

Pulisic efforts

When we did attack, 44 per cent of the time we went down our left-hand side, with Christian Pulisic heavily involved in trying to drive us forwards. His five successful take-ons was a game-high figure, and his three shots attempted was the most of anyone in blue.

Overall we had seven shots, of which four were on target. After a bright start, we had just one shot between the 22nd minute and the 84th minute, and that was blocked. Brighton had 10 attempts in the same timeframe.

Neither side created a chance from a counter-attack. Of the Seagulls’ 11 efforts overall, six were from range. Their best two chances came when they forced mistakes in Chelsea territory, something else Tuchel acknowledged when recognising we could have lost.

Since winning promotion in 2017, Brighton have drawn more Premier League games 0-0 than any other side, so the outcome was no surprise to them.

Kepa has now kept five clean sheets in a row when he has played.

Cutting corners

Of our 740 total passes (which was 330 more than Brighton made) 21 per cent were played into the attacking third of the pitch and 55 per cent went forwards. Our pass success rate was 88 per cent.

The Blues didn’t win a corner for the first time in a league game at Stamford Bridge since November 2009, in a game against Manchester United. Ironically we won that game with a headed John Terry goal from a Frank Lampard free-kick.

The last time we didn’t win a corner in the league was at Anfield last season.