Using statistics from the match and new graphics to illustrate the game’s trends, we take a closer look at yesterday’s derby win in north London…
It was a cliched game of two halves for the Blues in N17 as a lethargic performance before the break was followed by a much-improved restart, aided by Thomas Tuchel’s tactical tweaks and an upsurge in second-half tempo.
The visitors failed to register a shot on target in the first period, with just 41 per cent of aerial duels won and 50 per cent of tackles made successfully.
In contrast, we peppered the Spurs goal with 10 efforts on goal after the break, three of which beat Hugo Lloris, won 85 per cent of our aerial duels and 83 per cent of our tackles.
Thiago Silva, Toni Rudiger and N’Golo Kante were on the scoresheet, the latter following a half-time introduction that coincided with our improvement.
In his post-match assessment of the contest, Tuchel pinpointed a lack of energy, intensity and aggression in the first period, which allowed Tottenham to take control.
The hosts pressed high and frequently won possession in our half, pinning us back and restricting our attacking endeavours to the counter-attack.
The introduction to proceedings of Kante at the interval helped swing the game’s momentum back in our favour, with the lively Frenchman a source of boundless enthusiasm in midfield.
He won all his tackles, played key passes and beat opponents before scoring our second goal, albeit with the aid of a big deflection off Eric Dier.
Terrific Thiago defies the years
The evergreen Thiago Silva did the business in both boxes for the Blues, excelling in defence against the twin threat of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son before breaking the deadlock early in the second half.
No player on the pitch made more interceptions (three), clearances (six) or won as many offensive aerial duels (four), one of which was the headed opener that made the Brazilian our second-oldest Premier League goalscorer three days prior to his 37th birthday.
He also had more touches in the Spurs box than Kane did in our 18-yard area, illustrating an effective afternoon’s work.
Back down the other end, he didn’t commit a single foul and contributed to another Chelsea clean sheet, our fifth in six matches so far this term. With such solid foundations as strong as ever, the onus was on our goalscoring capability to wrap up the points.
Shot-happy second half
Tuchel’s men were braver, bolder and more clinical in both creating clear-cut chances and taking them in the second 45 minutes. We finished the match with 20 shots on goal, half of which were on target and seven of which were blocked.
The ever-involved Marcos Alonso had a game-high four of those efforts and claimed an assist in another all-action performance as he pushed up high and wide, while Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz finished with three shots apiece.
As a measure of the improved quality of our opportunities, we finished with an expected goals score of 2.27 xG, our second-highest this season after last month’s win at Arsenal.
If the first half was rusty then the second was ruthless and another indication of our intent to compete for honours on all fronts this season.