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So Chelsea have passing, possession, and xG going for us, which is nice

Like a blessing from the Dalai Lama

Jorginho set a new Premier League record for number of attempted passes in a game with 180 against West Ham United on Sunday. Ignoring the four minutes of second-half added-on time (there were none in the first half), that’s a pass attempted every 30 seconds on a pitch that contained 21 other players vying for time on the ball as well.

It was only a matter of time before Jorginho managed to accomplish this statistical landmark. Last month, against Newcastle, he came within 1 pass of breaking the record, now he’s added 6 on to İlkay Gündoğan’s old record of 174.

In terms of completed passes, Jorginho’s 162 (90 per cent completion rate) is still only good for third place all-time (behind Gündoğan 167 vs. Chelsea and Fernandinho’s 164 vs. Everton, both last season). That discrepancy is just one small indication that despite (or precisely because of) the impressive volume of attempted passes, Jorginho’s day really wasn’t all that impressive overall: 18 misplaced passes is a lot for somebody who’s supposed to be Chelsea’s “metronome” — and that’s before we consider the quality, direction, and actual usefulness of all these passes.

Jorginho also broke his own record from the Newcastle match for number of touches in a game, adding 5 more to set the new mark at 191.

Chelsea once again possessed the ball for over 70 per cent of the time and continue to lead the entire division in passes by a fairly wide margin (although Manchester City reduced the gap by about 50, to 250, this weekend).

All of that is fairly pointless without scoring any goals of course, though if other “more advanced” statistics are any indication, Chelsea didn’t actually do too badly in that department and the fault was more in the finishing rather than the creating.

While expected goals is apparently more useful as a multi-match trend rather than numbers from individual contests, the fact that West Ham racked up half as much xG in just a third as many shots (7 vs. 17) as Chelsea tells a story in and of itself. That West Ham only managed 1 shot on target makes their finishing even more hilarious than Chelsea’s (Yarmolenko missing the wide open header at the far post comes to mind), though Morata’s point blank shot into the face of Fabianski is hard to top — that’s the biggest square, the biggest chance on the diagram above, and by some distance.

Had that gone in — or if Willian hadn’t gone for goal from the wide angle, or if Hazard decided to show his killer instinct from last weekend rather than all the backheeling nonsense — it would be a lot easier to appreciate Jorginho’s passing exploits, ridiculously specialized as they may be.

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