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Chelsea 1-0 Norwich City, Premier League: Statistical review and analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Three more points while playing on cruise-control, even if the scoreboard suggests otherwise.

Overview

This was one of Chelsea’s more comfortable wins of the season despite the single-goal margin. Chelsea didn’t play particularly well but the sheer gulf in individual quality between them and Norwich was visible in almost every kick of the ball.

The game largely appeared to be a tribute act to the football Chelsea played last season, with plenty of possession but not much else. Chances were primarily created through individual quality and mistakes than any systemic overpowering of opponents.

Chelsea created a few solid openings before and after scoring the only goal of the game via the Pulisic-Giroud combination, not overly exerting themselves over the course of 90 minutes — mainly because they did not have to.

Norwich had no shots in the first half and only two in the second, neither of which were on target. That is perhaps the biggest indicator of what Chelsea were facing.


Match statistics

Statistics via fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

Could have perhaps done better with squad selection considering the strength of the opponents. While Pulisic and Willian are clearly better than Hudson-Odoi and Pedro, playing first choice wingers against the worst team in the league made little sense. Willian has made 8 starts in 24 days and Pulisic is not far behind, meaning they need every bit of rest they can find.

If the team looked jaded and slow against Norwich, a part of it was down to the fact the team’s starting wingers were running on fumes. Selecting fresher options would have made the team play better, even if said options are inferior in quality.

Tactically, Chelsea were designed to grind down Norwich and not allow any chances. The team’s individual quality was evident going forward and was the reason why Chelsea won despite not breaking into a sweat.

RATING: 7


Kepa Arrizabalaga

He is not likely to have many easier games than this one in his career. He did not have to make the save and even Norwich’s relatively better attacks were nipped in the bud. A clean sheet should boost his confidence.

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

César Azpilicueta

Arguably the best player on the pitch. Was his usual diligent self defensively and contributed enough going forward. Should have had an assist to show for his outing but lax finishing let him down. Seamlessly slotted into the left-back slot once Buendia was brought on.

Stats of note:
6 passes into penalty area - 1st among Chelsea players
15 progressive passes - 1st
4 clearances - 1st
2 shots blocked - 1st
4 key passes - 2nd
5 shot-creating actions - 2nd
2 tackles won (out of 4) - 2nd
3 interceptions - 2nd
3 aerial duels won (out of 6) - Joint 2nd
13 recoveries - 2nd
21 pressures - Joint 3rd

RATING: 8


Antonio Rüdiger

Could not have asked for a better game to play himself back into form. Was asked to do very little and what he was asked to do, he did well. Was particularly good aerially.

Stats of note:
113 carries - 1st
4 interceptions - 1st
16 passes into final third - 2nd
3 aerial duels won (out of 4) - Joint 2nd
11 progressive passes - 3rd
3 passes into penalty area - 3rd
12 recoveries - 3rd

RATING: 7


Kurt Zouma

Enjoyed a regular day in the office, with Rüdiger taking care of bulk of the defensive duties. After the chaos of the past few games, this was a welcome break.

Stats of note
91 carries - 2nd
2 clearances - 2nd
10 passes into final third - 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Marcos Alonso

Was good going forward and got several good deliveries into the box. He had the freedom to charge up-field and took part in attacks well.

Stats of note:
3 dribbles completed (out of 3) - 1st
1 shot on target (out of 3) - Joint 2nd
4 passes into penalty box - 2nd
8 touches in penalty box - 3rd
3 key passes - 3rd
1 tackle won - Joint 3rd
2 interceptions - Joint 3rd
4 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7.5


Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Jorginho

While it might be unfair to criticize after such a comfortable win, this game was further evidence why Jorginho was not considered over Kanté or Gilmour. His positioning to receive the ball was not particularly great and the weight of his passes was worse, continuing the theme seen against Sheffield United.

He is an unique player in the sense that he shows up extremely well on the stats-sheet but underwhelms on the eye test, emphasizing the need for both while judging a player.

Stats of note:
18 passes into final third - 1st
21 recoveries - 1st
28 pressures - 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 3rd
1 tackle won - Joint 3rd
75 carries - 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Mateo Kovačić

A solid if unspectacular display. Did a good job taking part in passing moves and won a couple of valuable fouls. His usual final third ineffectiveness makes one wonder if he should be used deeper as a lone number 6.

Stats of note:
3 tackles won (out of 4) - 1st
2 successful dribbles (out of 2) - 2nd
13 progressive passes - 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Still evidently rusty but showed promising signs. Kept the ball moving although his signature slaloming runs are yet to return. Could perhaps show better goal-scoring nous in the final third, especially in terms of timing and angling his runs. Needs to start taking more risks with his passing as well, although it is understandable why he is playing it safe after a 13-month hiatus.

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Willian

Made a scarcely-believable 8th start in 24 days and his tiredness was visible. This was perhaps his least impressive display since the restart. A rest for him and Pulisic this weekend will be of massive help.

Stats of note:
7 key passes - 1st
10 shot creating actions - 1st
1 tackle won - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Olivier Giroud

Scored his 5th goal in 8 Premier League appearances, coming up trumps yet again. His movement inside the box is rapidly improving, perhaps because of the rapidly improving understanding between him and Pulisic. Could have had a hat-trick on any other day but he is unlikely to dwell on it. Created a good chance for Pulisic too.

Stats of note:
1 goal
15 touches in the penalty box - 1st
6 aerial duels won (out of 10) - 1st
2 shots on target (out of 8) - Joint 1st
21 pressures - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7.5


Christian Pulisic

Was evidently fatigued but his quality still shone through. Most of his inventive ideas did not pay off and the fact he still kept trying despite failures is a reflection of his bravery and desire to influence games. Will have better games going forward.

Stats of note:
1 assist
2 shots on target (out of 3) - Joint 1st
10 touches in the penalty box - 2nd
22 pressures - 2nd
4 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Substitutes

Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Ross Barkley (67th minute)

Replaced Loftus-Cheek and showed some impressive dribbling and passing. Was tasked with merely keeping the pace of the game chugging along and he did a good job.

Stats of note:
3 dribbles completed (out of 3) - Joint 1st

RATING: 6.5


Reece James (80th minute)
Put in a couple of really nice deliveries into the box which were not attempted. One has the feeling that his assist tally could significantly improve next season with the addition of Werner and potentially Havertz.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (81st minute)
Should have perhaps started this game. Cameos of 10 minutes at ends of matches are not particularly useful for his confidence or development. He took part in attacks and played a subtle role in creating openings but he needs a bigger stage soon.

Tammy Abraham (86th minute)
Was given 5 minutes at the end of the game and did not exert any major influence.