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Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla, Champions League: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Chelsea FC v FC Sevilla: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alastair Grant - Pool/Getty Images

Overview

Chelsea, for perhaps the first time under Frank Lampard, successfully executed a conservative gameplan in our Champions League opener against Sevilla. It was the second time this season where Chelsea have attempted to contain the opponents first before thinking about attack — the other instance being Liverpool at home.

The defensive performance was good without being exemplary. The team funneled players to the wings and encouraged them to cross — trusting the ability of the defence to deal with balls into the box. The excellent defensive work done by the wide players contributed significantly to the solidity too.

However, not all was rosy. To say that Chelsea “failed” to break down Sevilla would be wrong. Chelsea did not seriously attempt to break down Sevilla at all! Whatever chances we got were the consequence of game-flow rather than design. That cannot happen often. Chelsea cannot afford to play many games as defensively as we did against Sevilla, certainly not with our firepower.

The challenge for Lampard is to find a more balanced gameplan. Chelsea need to remain defensively solid while also producing the level of attacking play we’ve become used to. That is where Lampard’s coaching nous come into play.


Statistics

Stats have been taken from wyscout, whoscored and sofascore.

Fbref have not provided advanced data for any Champions League game at the time of writing and as such, advanced metrics for individual players such as progressive passes (and many others) are not available. Whether this is a temporary or a permanent development remains to be seen.


Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

Lampard opted for a rather surprising setup. While he can be content with the clean sheet, he will be aware that the team needs more attacking impetus going forward.

That said, there could not have many complaints about the XI going into the game, with the winger situation perhaps the only questionable selection. Mason Mount, as good as he is, is human, too, and cannot be run into the ground. He needs his workload managed more responsibly.

Pulisic playing on the right was puzzling too, although it could have been done to ensure that he and Timo Werner do not end up clogging the same zones. While that is a valid concern, it was perhaps not required.

Lampard had to be very innovative tactically last season in to make the team’s attackers look better than they were. However, with Werner, Ziyech and others available now, he does not need to be as funky. As long as he plays his best players in their strongest positions, our quality will shine through.

RATING: 6.5


Édouard Mendy

A very solid Champions League debut for the new signing. Made a particularly impressive save from a set-piece and was commanding throughout the game. While his distribution was not consistently good, there were certainly flashes of quality.

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea FC v FC Sevilla: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Reece James

Sevilla tried to target him early in the first half and he stood up to the challenge excellently. His positioning was spot on and he used his strength well to win duels. Ocampos on paper was a tricky match-up but Reece more than held his own.

Stats of note
6 tackles - 1st among Chelsea players
3 clearances - Joint 1st

RATING: 7.5


Thiago Silva
Started the game shakily, especially in terms of passing, but eventually settled into a rhythm. His ability to defend the box is very encouraging for a team who have not defended particularly well of late, but he needs to polish up his passing.

Stats of note
3 clearances - Joint 1st

RATING: 7


Kurt Zouma

Was his usual excellent self in the air but his game on the ball was not as sharp as we would have liked. While his flaws on the ball have been massively overblown on social media, Zouma cannot be as careless in the future as he was against Sevilla.

Stats of note
3 clearances - Joint 1st
3 aerial duels won (out of 5) - Joint 1st
2 shots - 2nd

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea FC v FC Sevilla: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Ben Chilwell

The duel between him and Jesús Navas, a terrific right-back, was the highlight of the game. There were plenty of ebbs and flows, as one would expect in a battle between two top-level players. It would be fair to say the duel ended in a draw too, with Chilwell standing up to Navas’ threat and testing his opponent heavily during his forays forward.

Stats of note
2 key passes - 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 1st
3 clearances - Joint 1st

RATING: 7.5


Jorginho

Got an early yellow for a necessary tactical foul but walked the tightrope efficiently after that. He did not have the best game on the ball but it was not all down to him; the gameplan did not offer him a lot of options to pass forward.

Stats of note
2 interceptions - Joint 1st

RATING: 6.5


N’Golo Kanté

Started slowly, just like he did vs Southampton. The referee’s willingness to buy Sevilla’s play-acting did not help him either, with Kanté adjudged to have made five “fouls” for mostly clean tackles. He eventually settled into the game and his ability to block Sevilla’s passing options was crucial to maintaining solidity. One gets the impression he is still well short of his usual levels though.

Stats of note
3 clearances - Joint 1st

RATING: 6


Chelsea FC v FC Sevilla: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Christian Pulisic

Was diligent in his defensive duties without offering his usual spark going forward, which was partially down to his spot on the right wing. When he moved to the left early in the second half, he offered flashes of his usual levels before being moved back to the right.

Stats of note
3 successful dribbles (out of 4) - 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 1st

RATING: 6


Kai Havertz

Perhaps the most disappointing player of the front four. His decision-making was unnaturally slow and labored, stifling whatever transition chances Chelsea managed to create. Offered plenty on the defensive end.

Stats of note
3 aerial duels won (out of 5) - Joint 1st
5 tackles - 2nd

RATING: 5.5


Mason Mount

Clearly in need of a rest. He is giving it his all every time he steps on the pitch but he seems tired and cannot take (or execute) his decisions quickly enough. While he did his defensive duties diligently, one gets the impression he desperately needs a break.

Rating - 5.5


Chelsea FC v FC Sevilla: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Timo Werner

Was starved of service and was reduced to chasing long balls into the channels. He got on the end of two half-chances and could have perhaps done better but it is hardly something to complain about. Should have done better with his touch and technical cleanness in a few situations, however.

Stats of note
3 shots - 1st

RATING: 6


Substitutes:

Hakim Ziyech (62nd minute) - Still looks some way short of full fitness. Some of his pass ideas were nice but there is no point judging him at this point.

Mateo Kovacic (65th minute) - His dribbling offered Chelsea a way to escape Sevilla’s press and he was involved in one particularly impressive move involving Pulisic. Eventually lost his footing in the game, however.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (91st minute) - Nothing of note.

Tammy Abraham (91st minute) - Nothing of note.