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Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Overview

Chelsea took another not-so-insignificant step from a minor blip to an outright crisis, putting up a third anemic display in four games. This was a display of tired minds, tired legs and a scrambled tactical set-up.

There was not much to complain about the goals conceded. One may have been a debatable penalty, the other a ridiculously good free-kick, and the third a fluke goal, but the bigger issue was the team’s complete inability to break down Arsenal’s defence until very late in the game. For large parts of the game, Chelsea did not come close to troubling Leno barring a peach of a free-kick from Mount early in the first half, with more 60% of the team’s xG coming after the 85th minute.

While Ziyech’s injury should not be dismissed, it cannot explain all of the team’s lethargy of late. Having spent the money Chelsea did in the summer, the team cannot be fully reliant on just one player. The team showed an outstanding creative outlet last season, where did it all go? Common sense suggests performances should improve with better personnel but it is the opposite here.

The players will have to bear a degree of the blame too, for it is their duty to be active on the pitch. But the manager is paid to motivate the players and keep them fit, and the recent displays have not painted him in great light in that regard. A team with Chelsea’s personnel should not require “luck” to defeat the worst manager in the league and a team that has been in objectively terrible form. Even if it did, one makes their own luck anyway.


Match statistics

Statistics from fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

There was not much to complain about with his starting eleven. James and Chilwell were rushed back but considering the alternatives, the risk was perhaps justified. He chose a team that satisfied virtually everyone. Bringing on proven liability Jorginho instead of Gilmour is something that needs an explanation, however. It was a bad decision that backfired in more ways than one.

Where he lost out was tactically and in terms of motivating his team to be up for it. Arteta is hardly a master tactician, the opposite in fact, and beating Arsenal is hardly a steep mountain to climb. Yet Chelsea failed to exploit the numerous holes in the home team and insisted on a bunch of bizarre moves such as playing Werner as a true winger instead of using him as a forward.

With almost a week to prepare and no League Cup game, the least the team could have delivered was an energetic performance. The more training time we have between games, the more tired the team looks and this pattern is hard to miss. Questions will have to be raised over whether training is detrimentally intense.

RATING: 4


Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Édouard Mendy

Could not do much about any of the three goals. Made a bad pass to Lacazette but ensured nothing came of it and pulled off a few other good saves. It is not often a goalkeeper comes out looking good statistically after conceding three goals, but this was one such occasion.

RATING: 6


Reece James

Conceded a really stupid penalty and while one might argue it was not a penalty, tackling from behind in the box is never a smart idea. Besides one dangerous cross early in the game, his final-third game looked below his usual levels but there is not much he can be blamed for. To even play in this game must have taken a big effort, one would imagine.

Stats of note
6 passes into final third - 1st among Chelsea players
3 interceptions - 2nd
5 progressive passes - Joint 2nd
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) - Joint 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 2nd
2 key passes - Joint 3rd

RATING: 6


Kurt Zouma

Had a poor game in terms of progressing the ball and the nature of Arsenal’s goals had very little to do with him, or with most defenders for that matter.

Stats of note
7 aerial duels won (7 contested) - 1st
5 clearances - Joint 1st
3 shots - Joint 1st
12 loose-ball recoveries - 3rd

RATING: 6


Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Thiago Silva

Like the games against Everton and Wolves, Chelsea needed Silva to be their on-field coach and he failed to stand up when it mattered. Every team will have bad games or runs of form where nothing goes right. This is when the leaders on the field need to stand up and make themselves heard.

That is what Bruno and Maguire do for United (who have won at least 3 games this season where they were distinctly second best), or Henderson and Van Dijk for Liverpool (who have mastered the art of winning even when playing poorly). Who do Chelsea have of that vein? The answer is, as things stand, no one. The hope was Silva would do it, and he has done it in isolated games, but the team needs him to be more consistent.

His rating is not low because of his defensive efforts but rather his inability to lead and galvanize the team. Being the team’s leader, he will be held to higher standards than most when the team collapses the way they did against Arsenal.

Stats of note
5 clearances - Joint 1st
2 tackles - 2nd
2 interceptions - 3rd

RATING: 5


Ben Chilwell

Like with James, his sheer willingness to play when injured needs to be appreciated. He did not have his best performance but considering he was playing on one leg, he can be excused.

Stats of note
6 progressive passes - Joint 1st
6 aerial duels won (7 attempted) - 2nd
4 clearances - 2nd
13 loose-ball recoveries - 2nd

RATING: 6


N’Golo Kanté

Was good defensively and did well to protect the areas around the box when Arsenal were on the ascendancy. However, he did not have a great game on the ball. While he did really well to receive the ball in pockets of space, he did not make the most of those situations and his passing was unusually poor.

Stats of note
5 tackles - 1st
4 interceptions - 1st
24 pressures - 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6


Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mason Mount

Even when not at his best, Mount looked threatening and once again saw a superb long-range effort blocked by the goalpost. His effort off-the-ball was exemplary as usual and while he was not at his usual levels of ball progression, he was still among the team’s best players.

Stats of note
4 key passes - 1st
28 pressures - 1st
7 shot-creating actions - Joint 1st
3 shots - Joint 1st
14 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
5 passes into final third - 2nd
5 progressive passes - Joint 2nd
2 successful dribbles (3 attempted) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Mateo Kovačić

There was not much he did well or wrong, largely because he did nothing in his time on the pitch. Rightly hooked after 45 minutes.

Stats of note
2 successful dribbles (3 attempted) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 4


Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Christian Pulisic

If there is one thing Lampard deserves praise for, it is for moving Pulisic to the right. He looked threatening taking on Arsenal’s left flank early in the game and then moved back to his comfortable position on the left. While left-wing is still his best position, Pulisic should be able to unlock more angles of attacking the goal on the right. Was threatening in terms of dribbles but only managed to create one truly dangerous scenario, a late cross to Thiago Silva.

Stats of note
7 successful dribbles (8 attempted) - 1st
7 shot-creating actions - Joint 1st
3 shots - Joint 1st
4 passes into final third - Joint 1st
6 progressive passes - Joint 1s
3 key passes - 2nd
5 touches in the penalty box - 3rd

RATING: 7


Tammy Abraham

Scored a well-taken goal after a smartly timed run. His overall play was satisfactory and he did well to bring others into play, even dropping deep at times to progress the play. He held his own aerially against Arsenal’s centre-backs.

Stats of note
1 goal
3 shots - Joint 1st
6 aerial duels won (8 attempted) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Timo Werner

Another inept display. Werner these days is the worst possible combination of a lack of technical quality, a desire to overdo things and a crippling lack of confidence. One does have to wonder if someone else who did not cost big money, say Hudson-Odoi, would have received as many chances as Werner has if he even dared to put displays half as bad.

RATING: 4


Substitutes

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Callum Hudson-Odoi (46th minute) — Was by far the team’s best player on the night and everything good in the second half came through him. On a night when higher-profile players shrunk and avoided responsibility, Callum demanded the ball and did a great job trying to create things.

To think he was excluded from the squad for Werner (not a natural winger, in bad form) and Pulisic (was recovering from an injury, looked poor for large stretches) when he was fully fit seems like a bigger joke by the day. While the other two obviously have larger political capital and will be picked owing to their status, there needs to be a realization from the staff that Callum’s profile (a player who can create chances while not losing the ball often) is something the team needs badly.

Stats of note
1 assist
7 touches in the penalty box - Joint 1st
4 passes into penalty area - Joint 1st
2 dribbles (4 attempted) - Joint 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5

Jorginho (46th minute) — Was picked to replace Kovacic, with Lampard seemingly hoping for a repeat of last year’s Arsenal away performance. He did get what he wanted outside the lucky set-piece goal, with Jorginho posing no trouble whatsoever and missing a penalty as the icing on the cake. Why was he brought on when Gilmour was fit and available?

Stats of note
5 passes into final third - Joint 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 5

Kai Havertz (74th minute) —Nothing of note.