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Fulham 0-1 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Overview

Focusing on the positives first, Chelsea finally managed to win a game in which we did not play well. Wins like these have the potential to transform a team’s short-term fortunes, like the Southampton and West Ham games did for Manchester United (two matches where they were distinctly second best, and still won). Even mighty Manchester City had a dour win against Southampton, which acted as a springboard for their current winning run.

None of the league’s “big” teams have played well consistently this season and end-of-season fortunes will rely on the capacity to eke out results even when playing poorly. For instance, there was very little difference in the performances of Chelsea and Manchester United against Wolves. The difference was that one team were mature enough to nick a late win and the other melted. On that front, it is good to see Chelsea take baby steps towards becoming a tougher team.

However, the poor performance was not down to fatigue or inconsistency, as with other big clubs. Chelsea played poorly because we started poor players. While the team’s mentality deserves praise, Lampard cannot get away with bizarre lineups every game. Consistently sidelining the team’s most in-form (one could argue best) players helps no one and this has to change.


Match statistics

Statistics from fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

The starting XI was baffling to put it kindly. Not only were Havertz and Werner, supposedly picked against Morecambe to regain confidence, dropped, but Hudson-Odoi missed out, too. One also has to wonder what Tammy Abraham did to annoy Lampard — he hasn’t started a single game after scoring back-to-back against West Ham and Arsenal.

Having harped on about a “meritocracy” for the best part of 18 months, picking players based on price tag or “leadership” or “personality” is annoying at best, and doomed to fail at worst.

RATING: 5


Édouard Mendy

Had a moment of miscommunication with Azpilicueta in the second half but he did not have to do much otherwise. His post-shot xG faced of 0.7 seems a tad high considering the chances he actually faced.

RATING: 6


César Azpilicueta

While he was active defensively and racked up plenty of tackles and such, he was visibly a step behind in terms of tracking runners. Robinson’s red card massively helped his fortunes.

Stats of note
5 tackles - 1st among Chelsea players
6 clearances - 1st
3 passes into penalty area - Joint 1st
17 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
2 aerial duels won (2 contested) - Joint 2nd
18 pressures - 3rd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 6


Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Thiago Silva

Made a few important interventions when defending the box and showed his quality on the ball. Fulham’s attacking threat dwindled in the second half and he was not called into action often but when he was, he did his job efficiently.

Stats of note
13 passes into final third - 1st
4 aerial duels won (5 contested) - 1st
19 progressive carries - 1st
7 progressive passes - 2nd
4 clearances - 2nd
2 tackles - Joint 2nd
12 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5


Antonio Rüdiger

Looked at ease for most of the game and his passing from the left looked more natural than Zouma’s or Silva’s in terms of finding the right angles. However, his usual expansive passing attempts were missing.

Stats of note
2 aerial duels won (2 contested) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6.5


Ben Chilwell

It was his cross attempt that led to Mount’s goal and he got into some promising locations in the final third without doing much. He will have better games going forward.

Stats of note
2 aerial duels won (3 contested) - Joint 2nd
12 progressive carries - Joint 2nd
5 progressive passes - 3rd
3 clearances - 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Jorginho

Apparently picked for his “leadership” over better options. To no one’s surprise, his pointing and shouting led nowhere and he was hauled off after an hour. The fact a player who cannot compete physically with even the weakest/slowest players and possesses less than half the passing variety of say, Gilmour, is referred to as a “leader” speaks volumes about the club’s position.

Stats of note
2 interceptions - Joint 1st
2 tackles - Joint 2nd
12 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 2nd

RATING: 5


Mateo Kovačić

Did better than usual to cover his side of midfield defensively. Got into some decent locations in the final third but could not make the best of them. Not a lot more in the performance.

Stats of note
19 pressures - 2nd
8 passes into final third - 3rd

RATING: 5.5


Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Mason Mount

On a day where experience was emphasized so much, Mount came up trumps as he usually does when the chips are down. His passing in midfield was crucial in progressing play and his usual industry compensated for the defensive weaknesses elsewhere. It is time to stop viewing him as merely the team’s best (attacking) midfielder, he has been the team’s best player, full-stop this season.

Mount does not have a big price-tag, nor does he get the fanfare his skillset deserves. What he does have is the ability to do the important things in an understated manner, the capacity to shut out noise and the personality to put his hand up when things get tough. He was the real leader of the team on the night.

Stats of note
1 goal
9 progressive passes - 1st
7 key passes - 1st
12 shot-creating actions - 1st
3 successful dribbles (4 attempted) - 1st
8 touches in the penalty box - 1st
23 pressures - 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 1st
10 passes into final third - 2nd
2 tackles - 2nd
4 shots - Joint 2nd
12 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 2nd

RATING: 9


Hakim Ziyech

Exhibited his trigger-happy shooting nature for the first time in his Chelsea career. While it was a bit frustrating on this occasion, the method has brought him success in the past and is something worth exploring more due to the potential of creating second chances if not direct goals. However, his passing radar has still not returned and he resorted too soon to hit-and-hope crosses rather than actually valuable passes near the box.

Stats of note
5 shots - 1st
3 passes into penalty area - Joint 1st
4 shot-creating actions - 2nd

RATING: 5.5


Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud

As is the case usually, his lack of mobility affected the performances of those around him. His static nature compresses the space available for others and one has to wonder if this is worth his goal-spurts. It was not a surprise to see the team generate better openings once Tammy Abraham came on.

Stats of note
4 shots - Joint 2nd
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 5.5


Christian Pulisic

Carried the ball well but could not beat many players in 1v1 scenarios. His decision-making ranged from merely frustrating to infuriating and at this point, he needs to sit out a game or two for his own good. The team has players in better form.

While the situations are not fully comparable, there are shades of November-Timo Werner in Pulisic right now. His general game has fallen off a cliff — partly due to selfishness, partly due to a desperation to do better — and isolated moments seem to be papering over the cracks. There is still time to change this, mind.

Stats of note
3 carries into the penalty box - 1st
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
12 progressive carries - Joint 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 5.5


Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by John Walton - Pool/Getty Images

Substitutes

Tammy Abraham (65th minute) — Stretched the Fulham defence and opened up space for others. Linked up play well for the most part except for one slip.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (75th minute) — His pause and pass to Chilwell created the only goal and his passing was phenomenal otherwise too. Hudson-Odoi being good is not news anymore, it appears that everyone knows it except for the manager.

Dropping him for Pulisic (2 goal contributions in last 15 games in all competitions) and Ziyech (1 goal contribution in last 8 games in all competitions) is a ludicrous decision, only topped by dropping him for Werner in the past.

Timo Werner (75th minute) — Missed a gilt-edged chance to make the scoreline more flattering.