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Chelsea 3-0 Watford, Premier League: Statistical review and analysis

The numbers behind the game

Chelsea FC v Watford FC - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Three goals, three points and one routine win in a season that has been anything but routine.


After the sub-par performances against West Ham and Leicester City, a win like this was needed. Chelsea did not have a lot of trouble and won the game playing largely on cruise control.

Starting Barkley and Mount in midfield gave the team an attacking edge as compared to the eleven that played against West Ham and the difference was visible from minute one. Combination plays in the final third were slicker and the team looked more threatening with the ball.

However, it was not until one of Frank Lampard’s water-break talks that the team fully clicked. Mount occupied a slightly deeper position after that first break and his vertical pass to Barkley and Barkley’s cute pass to Giroud created the first goal.

Christian Pulisic then did what he does best, squaring up against Etienne Capoue in a 1-v-1 scenario and winning a penalty through his ability to move from full speed to a standing stop to full speed again. Willian duly converted from the spot.

The second half saw some unusually good (by this season’s standards, at least) game management from Chelsea, with the team breezing until the 75th minute. However, Kanté’s injury gave Watford an opening, on which they almost capitalized.

The storm was eventually weathered and Barkley put the icing on the cake with a smart finish inside the box in the 93rd minute.


Chelsea vs. Watford statistics

Statistics courtesy of fbref and understat.

Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

Brought back Mount after resting him against West Ham and was vindicated. The decisions to play Giroud over Abraham and Azpilicueta over Alonso paid off too. His decision to bring on Gilmour over Jorginho in order to see out the game was particularly intriguing.

However, it was his decision to bring back Kurt Zouma over Antonio Rüdiger that had the most impact on the game. Zouma’s no-nonsense style of defending and aerial ability got Chelsea out of several tricky scenarios and massively improved the set-piece jitters.

Tactically, Lampard’s little shuffles and adjustments made a big difference to the flow of the game. His decision to swap Mount and Barkley helped unsettle Watford’s defence. Mount, in particular, received the ball almost at will and was toying with Watford’s defence for large portions of the game.


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

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Did not have much to do for the most of the game but stayed alert to pull off a smart save around the 80th minute, Almost put the defence in trouble by playing an ill-judged pass in the first half but besides that, there were no major mistakes from him today.


Reece James

Was given the chance to start after his forgettable performance against Leicester last week and provided a good account of himself. After starting slowly, especially from a defensive perspective, he improved around the half-time mark and played some good passes into the box. Should have had an assist from his excellent far-post cross to Loftus-Cheek.

Stats of note:
11 recoveries - 3rd among Chelsea players
75 carries - 3rd
9 pressures - 3rd
3 blocks - 1st
15 passes under pressure - 3rd


Andreas Christensen

Was solid throughout the game but as is usually the case with him, he had a lapse in concentration and judgement that could have cost the team when he failed to win a high ball in the first half. Kept the ball moving well and wasn’t afraid to move forward when required.

Stats of note:
1 successful dribble - 2nd
284 yards covered by progressive running - 3rd
1 aerial duel won - 3rd
3 interceptions - 1st
4 clearances - 2nd


Chelsea FC v Watford FC - Premier League Photo by Glyn Kirk/Pool via Getty Images

Kurt Zouma

Did a great job nullifying Troy Deeney. Deeney was limited to just 2 successful aerial duels out of an attempted 9, a strong drop from his usual levels of more than 7 successful aerial duels/90 at a rate of 37%. Kept play simple at the back and did a great job at set-pieces too.

Stats of note:
6 aerial duels - 1st
16 recoveries - 1st
2 interceptions - 2nd
4 clearances - 2nd


César Azpilicueta

Another strong showing from Azpilicueta, this time on the left of the defence. Played a few nice passes into the box and got himself a late assist, taking his tally to 6 for the season. The only Premier League defenders to have more assists than him this season are Andy Robertson (8) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (12). Defensively he was his usual solid self.

Stats of note:
4 passes into penalty box - 1st
4 key passes - 1st
10 progressive passes - 1st
11 pressures - 1st


N’Golo Kanté

Did a good job stemming opponent attacks as always. Kanté’s job is not limited to just winning tackles or interceptions but also recovering loose balls and blocking passing lanes. Aspects like these cannot be quantified in stats.

However, this is not to suggest his game was perfect by any means. He got carried away in terms of positioning and found himself too advanced in certain situations. While Watford lacked the quality to punish these situations, better teams will seek to exploit this. More discipline, like the displays against Villa and Man City, is required.

He could have perhaps done a better job moving the ball quicker too.

Stats of note:
19 passes under pressure - 1st
13 recoveries - 2nd
3 blocks - 1st
3 clearances - 3rd


Chelsea FC v Watford FC - Premier League Photo by Glyn Kirk/Pool via Getty Images

Ross Barkley

Started slowly but played an excellent pass to Giroud for the first goal. His decision-making speed wasn’t the quickest but he did spread the play well on certain occasions. His sheer presence in the final third gives something to think about for defenders, freeing up little bits of space for his teammates. This is perhaps the biggest difference between him and Kovačić in the attacking spots.

Could have perhaps done better on counter-attacks with his passing but ultimately, you cannot argue against a goal and an assist. He now has 6 goals or assists in his last 7 games in all competitions.

Stats of note:
1 goal
1 assist
6 switches of play - 1st
2 passes into penalty box - 2nd
2 key passes - 2nd
16 passes under pressure - 2nd
2 fouls won - 3rd


Mason Mount

Another strong display from Mount, carrying on his good form since football restarted. Did a great job at playing line-breaking passes, receiving in tricky scenarios and pressuring opponents. His weight of passes, especially when attempting to play teammates through on goal, is something that can improve.

Stats of note:
6 touches in penalty box - 3rd
2 successful dribbles - 1st
8 passes into final third - 3rd



As with Mount, this game was a continuation of his good form. His ability to cut in from the right and find a free player on the opposite flank is an underrated trait that has created favorable situations for the team. His work-rate, as always, was commendable.

He got his goal from yet another well taken penalty but the less said about his free-kicks and corners, the better. Willian now has 8 goals or assists in his last 7 games in all competitions.

Stats of note:
1 goal
7 progressive passes - 3rd
1 pass into penalty box - 3rd
2 successful dribbles - 1st
2 switches of play - 2nd


Chelsea FC v Watford FC - Premier League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Olivier Giroud

Trusted to start over Tammy Abraham and repaid the faith. Made the right runs to create space either for himself or for him teammates. His aerial ability and tendency to win fouls is valuable too.

Stats of note:
1 goal
7 touches in penalty box - 2nd
2 aerial duels won - 3rd
10 pressures - 2nd
3 fouls won - 2nd


Christian Pulisic

Won the penalty for Willian’s goal and showed improved final third passing compared to previous displays. His combination play, with Mount in particular, is something to be very optimistic about. His presence in and around the penalty box is perhaps Chelsea’s biggest weapon at present.

Stats of note:
1 penalty won
10 touches in penalty box - 1st
4 passes into penalty box - 1st
1 through ball - 1st
4 fouls won - 1st


Chelsea FC v Watford FC - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Made a good far-post run to get on the end of Reece James’s cross but couldn’t convert it to goals. He is slowly shaking off his rustiness from injury.

Tammy Abraham

Perhaps needs to take a breath and calm down a bit. The news of Werner’s impending arrival seems to have placed a degree of pressure on Abraham, from himself more than anyone else, and it is showing in the way he plays. The timing and angle of his runs aren’t as good as they once were.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Seemed very sharp in terms of speed but did not get a lot of touches to influence play.

Billy Gilmour

Was given the chance to replace Kanté and was once again a bit jittery. However, it is perhaps down a lack of match-fitness more than anything else.

Ratings for all 4 of them: N/A. Neither influenced play enough to warrant a rating.

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