Chelsea and Fulham played out a passionate and hard-fought goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, with Enzo Fernandez and Benoit Badiashile two players to catch the eye as we delve into the statistics from this Friday night Premier League fixture.
As the scoreline suggests, it wasn’t a game full of chances in west London, with just 22 attempts in the match.
It was a positive step, however, with a mixture of both returning players from injury and also new signings being integrated into the side, and another clean sheet for Kepa and his defence.
The expected goals alludes to a rather tame and tight game, and in truth a draw was probably a fair result – with Kai Havertz coming closest for the Blues when he hit the post with a lob over Bernd Leno.
Willian, Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andreas Pereira all hit the target for the visitors, with the latter producing the best of Kepa’s four saves as he tipped it round his post in the first half.
It took just 45 minutes for Chelsea fans to get a glimpse of what is to come from Enzo Fernandez in the coming years.
The Argentinian showed exactly what his game is all about on his Blues debut: fearless in midfield duels and an accurate tackler of the ball, constantly putting the fire out on opposition counter-attacks as he anchored the midfield.
He was successful in six of his eight tackles at Stamford Bridge, the most on the park by any player. His total of 75 passes was only bettered by our two centre-halves in the full 90 minutes, with his 99 touches also a standout statistic.
We’ve summarised Enzo’s match statistics below…
Benoit exuding confidence
Benoit Badiashile has started three Chelsea matches now and is yet to see the ball bulge the back of the Blues net. Starts against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and now Fulham have seen the Frenchman show his assuredness and confident nature both in and out of possession.
The 21-year-old, who featured alongside the ever-impressive Thiago Silva once again, had the most passes on the pitch (112), most touches (124) and most clearances (5).
At such a young age, Badiashile’s ability to adapt to life in England is already showing huge signs of promise, dealing well with the threat of Fulham’s Mitrovic on this occasion.
Noni Madueke was another debutant for the Blues last night, replacing Mykhailo Mudryk at the halfway stage. Despite the latter unfortunately struggling with illness, it still created a pathway for Noni to make his mark in Blue.
Madueke first came wide left up against the experienced Kenny Tete, before returning to his more natural wide right-wing position after Raheem Sterling's introduction.
The Englishman showed he is a direct and tricky winger, always looking to take on his man when given the opportunity. Only former Blue Willian had more successful dribbles (6) than Noni’s two.
Ben Chilwell and Reece James were both involved in the Chelsea squad this evening after returning from spells on the sidelines, the latter from the start.
Chilwell had missed 11 games, whereas Reece had missed six games prior to Fulham’s visit. Ben Chilwell was introduced with 83 minutes on the clock, appearing for the first time since November.
James made 55 passes, one tackle and had 66 touches on his return.