Despite Wednesday night’s win, Thomas Tuchel pulled no punches when assessing the Chelsea performance at Watford, rating it as one of the poorest of his time in charge. Here we look at the details illustrating that view, but also at how the Blues still came away with three points.
As the boss pointed out, it was not so much that his team were poorer when it came to direct one-on-one contests with their Hornet rivals across the pitch, it was that they did not manage to create enough of those contests in the first place.
As a consequence, the pressure Watford were able to put us under resulted in Chelsea players being called upon to make 40 clearances from the danger area, contrasting with Watford’s nine. Twelve of our clearances were by Toni Rudiger. Claudio Ranieri’s side won six corners to our none.
While the Blues did win more duels, aerials contests and tackles than our opponents, it was not to the degree Tuchel is used to seeing from his table-toppers, and possession was split 50-50 between the teams pretty much throughout the game.
Less of the ball
Our final figure of 50 per cent possession is our third lowest this season, behind the Man City loss (40 per cent) and the draw at Liverpool (35 per cent).
Our head coach made changes at the interval, switching from a 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 and with the score 1-1, brought on attacking substitutions, hoping to exploit space left by Watford attacking ‘bravely’ in numbers, as illustrated by their average position map.
It was one of the players who was brought on, Hakim Ziyech, who smashed in the winner. Both of the Moroccan’s shots were on target.
Scorer of our first goal, Mason Mount, was the other player who managed two attempts at goal, his other one hitting the post.Overall Watford had 14 shots to Chelsea’s eight and six on target to our four. It was from shots outside the box that the opposition boosted their total. We both had six each from inside the penalty area. The Blues managed one more shot on-target in the second half than Watford did.
Our xG rating, the measurement of expected goals, shows how we did well to score twice with the quality of the chances created.
On putting the Blues 1-0 ahead, Mount became the first player to reach double figures for goals scored in the 10 months Tuchel has been in charge. The England international’s goal and third assist of the season take him onto seven goal contributions in the Premier League this season, one behind Reece James who has our most.
Kai on the front foot
The one player the head coach highlighted as having reached his usual level was Kai Havertz. Playing as the central striker, the German played the most key passes for Chelsea at Vicarage Road with two, and his four successful dribbles was the highest number in the game and three more than any of his team-mates.
Although our wing-backs were unable to provide the constant attacking threat we have seen from those positions of late, Marcos Alonso was involved in both goals and supplied the most crosses with three. He had the second-most touches too but the fact he was called on to defend frequently is illustrated by his place at the top of the successful tackles list (three made), and he is up there with the central defenders when ranking number of interceptions made.
Andreas Christensen returned to the starting line-up and despite being one of the many on pitch who required treatment during the game, the Dane was the most accurate passer from both sides and was our player who won the most aerial duels.
Despite the team conceding last night, we still have the best defensive record in the Premier League and only Liverpool have scored more.
We are also able to celebrate a fifth league win in a row against Watford for the first time in the fixture’s history.