1. REECE JAMES (9.4)
Goals this season by Chelsea strikers: 9 (Lukaku 4, Havertz 3, Werner 2)
Goals this season by Chelsea wing-backs: 8 (James 4, Chilwell 3, Alonso 1)
The jokes about Wingbacks FC are funny because they are true.
But beyond the cliches and the amusement, it’s also very much by design — Chelsea’s wing-backs often underlap rather than overlap their wing-forward partner, and pop up in central areas and inside the penalty area. This has been a feature of Marcos Alonso’s play for a long time; now the next generation like James and Chilwell are taking that idea and running with it as well.
We’re far from the first team to do this — the “inverted wingback” was an option as far back as Football Manager 2015, for example, underlining its rising prevalence in football — but we are taking maximum advantage of it as part of our search for attacking solutions.
It also helps that James “shoots like a horse”, according to Tuchel. Not sure what that means (“kicks like a horse?”), but I think it’s a good thing. Giddyup!
2. CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI (7.9)
Thomas Tuchel has challenged Hudson-Odoi to step up and produce consistently this season (regardless of precise position), and especially in the wake of injuries to Lukaku, Werner, etc. Having started three on the bounce (in all competitions), Hudson-Odoi looks to be rising to the challenge and delivering — playing in his favored position and making an impact, on and off the scoreboard.
In a week, he will be celebrating his 21st birthday; hopefully we keep the party going on the pitch as well!
3. JORGINHO (7.6)
Another day, another goal from the penalty spot for Jorginho. And no, apparently Reece James did not ask to take it.
Jorginho pós Newcastle sobre o pênalti para @ESPNBrasil— Joao Castelo-Branco (@j_castelobranco) October 31, 2021
“O treinador é quem escolhe quem bate o pênalti. Que fique bem claro para que não crie nenhum tipo de polêmica, ele (James) não pediu para bater. Se tivesse pedido talvez a gente pudesse ter conversado mas ele não pediu.” pic.twitter.com/6cDNgFw0W0
vs. NEWCASTLE (PL, A, W 3-0)
EXCEPTIONAL (9.0+): James (9.4)
EXCELLENT (8.0-8.9): —
GOOD (7.0-7.9): Hudson-Odoi (7.9), Jorginho (7.6), Christensen (7.6), Silva (7.5), Rüdiger (7.5), Havertz (7.4), Mendy (7.2), Chilwell (7.1), Loftus-Cheek (7.0, sub)
AVERAGE (6.0-6.9): Kanté (6.9), Barkley (6.7, sub), Ziyech (6.5), Saúl (6.1, sub)
POOR (5.0-5.9): —
BAD (4.0-4.9): —
TERRIBLE (3.0-3.9): —