With statistics from the match and graphics to illustrate key points, we look at the details behind the Blues first loss of the season…
Against Manchester City on Saturday, Chelsea failed to record a shot on target for the first time with Thomas Tuchel in charge, with the boss after the game highlighting that on the occasions his team did work the ball up to spearhead Romelu Lukaku, there was limited chance of the attack bearing fruit.
Tuchel opted for a similar 3-5-2 shape as the one that closed out the win at Tottenham so well the weekend before, with Timo Werner (a substitute that day) deployed in a front-two from the start against City. However afterwards the boss lamented the lack of extra support and belief, and the disconnection from the rest of the team when there was the chance to make something happen in the opposition half.
This is borne out by the average positions of the Chelsea starters, with only Lukaku and Werner spending more time in the City half than our one, and the wide gap between the no.9 and the no.11 and the midfield, which contrasts with the City version shown below. That has seven of their players spending more time in the Chelsea half than their own.
Lukaku’s 21 touches were the fewest of any player who started the game with Werner’s 29 the second fewest.
Problems playing through
That so many Man City players were so advanced is partly due to their renowned high press without the ball, and it was the manner in which the Chelsea players attempted to escape it that was under par this time according to Tuchel’s analysis, compared with the three victories in a row he had enjoyed against them in the second half of last season.
Yesterday we had an amount of possession comparable with the Champions League final, 41 per cent this time and 40 per cent in Porto. Yet in May we had two shots on target and eight overall compared with none at the net and five off-target at the Bridge.
As we tried to play out, City managed to dispossess Jorginho three times and Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante twice, with two dispossessions of Jack Grealish the highest Chelsea managed against them.
The 83 per cent pass completion rate was the same as the Premier League hosting of Aston Villa but 11 percentage points higher than the 1-1 draw with 10 men at Liverpool.
Alonso, including with a free-kick, joined Werner as the player who had the most shots for the Blues with two apiece, contrasted with Kevin De Bruyne’s four for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Blues do more after the break
Despite conceding the only goal of the game in the second half, it is clear there was a step-up in our performance when comparing it with the first half.
Our possession stat did dip as low as 34 per cent in the first half, and we made 183 passes while Man City made 347. In the second half there 230 Chelsea passes and 251 from the opposition, and possession went up to 48 per cent across the second half.
When contesting duels, City won four more than we did in the first half, whereas we came out top with eight more in the second period.
It was only deep in defence that Tuchel was satisfied with his team’s performance before the shift-up in gears after going 1-0 down.
Despite Man City’s upper hand, Edouard Mendy was called upon to make two saves in the game, four fewer than against Liverpool and Aston Villa in our league games against them, with Thiago Silva clearing another City goal-bound shot off the line.
The deflected shot that did beat our goalie was the first goal we have conceded in open play in the Premier League this season.
Although only on the pitch for an hour of the game, Thiago Silva executed the most tackles for Chelsea – three, with Cesar Azpilicueta and N’Golo Kante successfully tackling twice each. Toni Rudiger topped the interceptions with three, and Azpi and Andreas Christensen made the most clearances, four.
Although a three-man central midfield could have limited Rudiger’s advances which have been a trademark of his season so far, he still made two key passes (those leading to an unsuccessful attempt on goal by a team-mate). That was the most by a Chelsea player.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, on for the final 15 minutes, made two successful dribbles, only surpassed for Chelsea by the five from Mateo Kovacic, which was the highest total for either team.
With Manchester City having won consecutive away top-flight games against Chelsea for the first time since January 1955, our quest for four successive home Premier League wins for the first time under Tuchel goes on.