Using the data from yesterday’s game against Everton, we take a statistical look at the key aspects of a frustrating evening on Merseyside for Frank Lampard’s men…
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s early penalty was enough to inflict a first defeat on the Blues in 17 matches (barring penalty shootouts), with Lampard left frustrated about his side’s slow start and inability to break through a well-organised and hard-working defensive unit.
The closest we came to scoring at Goodison Park was through Reece James and Mason Mount, who both hit the woodwork.
James gets some joy down the right
The right-back was perhaps the outstanding performer for Chelsea, certainly when assessing the post-match facts and figures. No Blues player had more shots or more shots on target, highlighting his impact in an attacking sense, while his four successful tackles was also the most on the field and his 92 per cent pass completion beaten only by Thiago Silva.
It was down the right flank that the visitors directed the vast majority of their attacking endeavours as well, with 48 per cent of our forward forays coming down that side, and the average position map even shows Timo Werner playing most of the time to the right of Olivier Giroud, the central striker.
Combined with Everton’s left-sided attacks (43 per cent of their total), it meant a busy evening for 21-year-old James, who was involved in a fascinating running battle with Richarlison.
Sticky Toffees curb creativity
However, the fact that our right-back accounted for so much of the team’s attacking output illustrated the problems Lampard’s men faced in getting their more advanced, creative players on the ball.
Of the three shots on target conjured at Jordan Pickford’s goal, James mustered two of them and Kurt Zouma the other, with the Frenchman also claiming the most key passes for Chelsea with two. While Zouma and Thiago Silva combined for 237 of our 862 touches in the game (27 per cent), Werner had just 40 touches and Kai Havertz 42.
A game of few chances
This was a meeting of two sides at opposite ends of the xG ratings prior to kick-off, with the visitors coming into the game as Premier League top scorers and high up for big chances created. Everton, meanwhile, had conceded the most big chances bar the three promoted teams, although the narrative and form did not bear out on the Goodison pitch.
Lampard bemoaned after the game that his players were aware of what was coming – long, direct balls forward from Pickford towards Dominic Calvert-Lewin – but failed to cope with either the first duel or the battle for knockdowns. Everton’s England centre-forward won seven aerial duels as the Toffees played long with over 20 per cent of their passes (compared to 8 per cent for Chelsea).
Down the other end, with four centre-backs deployed across the back due to full-back absences, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were determined and diligent in their defending. Michael Keane and Mason Holgate made an impressive 18 clearances between them, while Ben Godfrey claimed a game-high five interceptions, and Keane won 83 per cent of his aerial duels.
For all our possession (72 per cent), this was our lowest xG rating since the 0-0 draw at Manchester United back in October, and we failed to muster a shot on target after the 28th minute. Lampard will certainly be demanding more when we head to Molineux on Tuesday night.