In our statistical analysis of yesterday’s ultimately emphatic victory over Crystal Palace, the defenders take centre stage with crucial contributions made by Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ben Chilwell…
Decisive defenders at both ends
As satisfying as the four second-half goals were, Frank Lampard will also have taken plenty of pleasure from our first Premier League clean sheet of the season, and the decisive manner in which it was achieved.
The assurance of our defenders both on those few occasions they were challenged, and more regularly when in possession, laid the foundations for our dominance.
Edouard Mendy did not have a save to make. Of Crystal Palace’s four attempts, two were blocked and two went wide. Three were struck from outside the box. The visitors’ dangerman, Wilfried Zaha, was dispossessed a game-high four times, and was limited to just a couple of successful dribbles.
Meanwhile our distribution out from the back was superb. Thiago Silva stood out, completing 112 of his 116 passes at a remarkable 97 per cent completion rate. Both figures were game-high. The majority of his passes were played forward and into the middle of the pitch. He also recorded a Chelsea-high four clearances.
Meanwhile, his centre-back partner Zouma not only netted the second goal, but also recorded a 94 per cent pass completion rate (successful with 98 of his 104 passes), won three aerial duels out of three contested, and cleared the ball twice.
The willingness of our full-backs to get forward was apparent in the opener, when Azpilicueta’s deflected effort eventually fell to Chilwell to lash home on his 100th Premier League appearance, and first for Chelsea. It was one of 17 shots we had overall.
Behind the centre-backs, Azpilicueta (9 per cent) and Chilwell (8.5 per cent) spent the most time in possession for us, with the league debutant supplying three key passes, including the cross for Zouma’s goal. Chilwell also made a joint game-high three interceptions, and won two aerial duels. It was no surprise his showing earned praise from Frank Lampard afterwards.
Havertz with a helping hand
It is often said that defending starts from the front, and Tammy Abraham certainly did his bit. The striker’s three successful tackles was a joint game-high figure. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz won two each.
Havertz came out on top of four aerial duels, more than anyone, and also recorded three clearances, a figure bettered only by Thiago Silva. The German also supplied three key passes, the same number as Chilwell.
Behind him, the midfield duo of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante recorded five interceptions between them. They both had a pass completion rate of 92 per cent, helping keep control of the ball as we moved up the pitch.
Jorginho scored two penalties in the space of four minutes. He becomes the first Chelsea player ever to score two penalties in a match for us twice. He also did so at home to Ajax last season.
Chilwell: We're starting to gel