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Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Overview

A thoroughly professional and clinical performance brought home a much-needed three points. Despite the scoreline, the performance was based on defensive solidity rather than attacking chutzpah. Chelsea silenced Crystal Palace, who had troubled Manchester United, Everton and Southampton this season already, and limited them to virtually no chances at all.

The first-half was a relatively subdued affair, with Chelsea having plenty of shots but not many clear-cut opportunities. It took a moment of luck to open the scoring too, with Hudson-Odoi’s perseverance keeping the ball in the box before Palace’s defence failed to deal with a blocked shot. Chilwell duly pounced on it and continued the recent tradition of Chelsea’s fullbacks scoring vital goals,

Chilwell had a strong part to play in the second goal too: it was his cross from a cleared corner that was met with a mighty header from Zouma. Chelsea were in control from this point and Jorginho converted two penalties, won by Abraham and Havertz, to make the scoreline comfortable.

While Abraham and Werner were well within their rights to ask for a penalty, Jorginho’s eagerness to score cannot be faulted either. Should he have given others a chance, especially at 3-0 up, to score and boost their confidence? Yes. Was his desire to score wrong? No.

It would have been better to see a leader be more magnanimous but at the end of the day, Jorginho is a competitor, too. It is not a major issue and the involved parties will have moved on already.


Statistics

Stats from fbref and understat.


Individual Ratings

Frank Lampard

Got the team selection right and let Chelsea’s individual quality overwhelm Crystal Palace going forward. Chelsea appear to be improving defensively on a week-by-week basis. The team’s counter-pressing, set defence and transition defence were excellent against Spurs and the improvement continued against Palace too.

Overall, Chelsea have made steady improvement this season from a defensive perspective barring individual errors. There is no defensive structure that can account for players committing monumental errors.

Set-pieces at either end have seen a strong improvement, too, both in terms of personnel and organization. However, the most noteworthy aspect so far has been the team’s willingness to foul and simulate. Chelsea have not been afraid to make “tactical” fouls this season and that is one of the reasons behind the improved defensive security. The spike in penalties won is due to players selling fouls better too.

Of course, any early-season analysis is vulnerable to small sample size. There is no point making outlandish statements after 4 games but so far, the signs are promising.

RATING: 8


Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Photo by Neil Hall/PA Images via Getty Images

Édouard Mendy

Had virtually nothing to do in terms of shot-stopping or cross collection. His distribution showed some promise and he already seems comfortable barking orders to Zouma and Silva, two centre backs with a far higher profile than him.

RATING: 6


César Azpilicueta

Was picked to deal with the threat of Zaha and Eze on counters and did a great job at it. While some were unhappy to see Reece James benched, Azpilicueta is too good to be sidelined for too long. Both will play plenty enough over the course of the season.

Stats of note
25 pressures - 1st among Chelsea players
6 progressive passes - Joint 2nd
8 passes into final third - 2nd

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Thiago Silva

After a horror debut, Silva settled into the Chelsea backline and offered a sense of calm to everyone around him. HIs ability to read play and make vital interceptions was crucial in nipping a few Palace attacks in the bud. He could have perhaps done better playing vertical passes — in terms of weight and timing as much as volume — but overall, he will be satisfied with his outing.

Stats of note
5 clearances - 1st
1 blocked shot - Joint 1st
12 passes into final third - Joint 1st
11 loose-ball recoveries - 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5


Kurt Zouma

Grabbed himself his second goal of the season to cap what was yet another solid performance. Zouma is becoming better and more vocal on a weekly basis and is taking small steps towards realizing the potential he showed in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

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

RATING: 7.5


Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

Ben Chilwell

Undoubtedly the star of the show on his Premier League debut for the club, thanks to an all-action display that influenced proceedings at both ends. His tendency to overlap and take part in associative play with the likes of Werner provided a degree of dynamism and width to the Chelsea attack. On the defensive end, he held his own, barring one moment, against a very tricky team.

Stats of note
1 goal
1 assist
8 progressive passes - 1st
3 passes into penalty area - 1st
3 interceptions - 1st
3 key passes - Joint 1st
5 shot-creating actions - 2nd
3 aerial duels won (out of 3) - Joint 2nd
2 shots - Joint 2nd
3 clearances - 3rd
10 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 9


N’Golo Kanté

Started the game slowly before exerting his influence both on and off the ball. He seems far sharper in his movements this season and his ability to get the ball forward quickly, regardless of how unorthodox it looks, is something the team will need a lot this season. Worryingly, he picked up an injury late in the game.

Stats of note
1 shot blocked - Joint 1st
6 progressive passes - Joint 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
18 pressures - 3rd
10 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jorginho

Had his best game in a long while. His willingness to switch play quickened the team’s offense and made it possible to find free players on the far side. It is now up to him to reproduce these performances on a consistent basis and cement himself alongside Kante.

Stats of note
2 goals
12 passes into final third - Joint 1st
23 pressures - 2nd
4 touches in the penalty box - 2nd
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
6 progressive passes - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5


Callum Hudson-Odoi

Had a quiet first half before picking up steam in the second. He needs to recapture his fearlessness, the ability to take/execute risks and his trickery in tight spaces, qualities that make him such an unique talent, if he wants to establish himself in the team. While he worked diligently and retained possession, he was too safe with the ball at times.

Stats of note
6 shot-creating actions - 1st
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
2 shots - Joint 2nd
3 touches in the penalty box - Joint 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

Kai Havertz

Another very comfortable display from Havertz on both sides of the ball. His decision-making, deceptive speed and ability to identify spaces to receive make him a very potent threat. One gets the impression that the end product will soon follow (in the Premier League as well) and even if it does not, he is playing at a high level as a facilitator regardless.

Stats of note
14 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
3 key passes - Joint 1st
3 aerial duels won (out of 5) - Joint 2nd
4 shot-creating actions - 3rd

RATING: 7


Timo Werner

Had a disappointing outing on the left wing and spent far too long hugging the touchlines instead of occupying the space between the centre back and full back. However, it is nothing to panic about and he will eventually pick up form as he becomes more used to his teammates and vice versa.

Stats of note
3 touches in the penalty box - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6


Tammy Abraham

Gave Palace’s defenders a torrid time on the ground and won plenty of duels that enabled Chelsea to play the way they want to. His ability to hold the ball up, win 50-50 duels, beat defenders for pace, and associate with his teammates were all on display against Palace. The way he brought down Jorginho’s long pass and got a shot off was excellent centre forward play and was a particularly noteworthy moment.

Stats of note
4 shots - 1st
6 touches in the penalty box - 1st
3 aerial duels won (out of 6) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Substitutes

Mateo Kovačić (83rd minute) — Nothing of note.
Christian Pulisic (83rd minute) — Nothing of note.