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Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Adrian Dennis - Pool/Getty Images

Overview

Chelsea collected yet another comfortable league win (fourth in five league games) on the back of the best football of the Tuchel era in the first-half against Newcastle. The attacking play was slick and it was combined with solid structures on and off-the-ball — albeit helped by the hapless nature of the opponent. The second-half was largely a performance of maintaining the team’s energy levels in the middle of a hectic schedule and the team did not exert themselves much.

All four attackers — including Abraham who was subbed off due to injury — seemed to possess an innate understanding of their teammates’ positions and Newcastle had no answer to the sheer quality of the likes of Werner and Mount. It would have been nice to have a proper big win but the performance was very encouraging regardless, even when accounting for the fact Newcastle at home is among the easiest fixtures we’ve had season after season.


Match statistics

Statistics from fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Thomas Tuchel

The initial team selection was polarizing to say the least, and this writer was certainly not a big fan. Removing Gilmour from the bench in favour of two left-backs, starting Kepa and not reverting to a more expansive formation were all bones of contention. However, the selected team delivered the goods and looked cohesive while doing so. For that, Tuchel deserves praise.

While the team looked fluid and overpowered Newcastle, there remains a feeling that this might not cut it against the truly top teams. Chelsea have arguably the second best fullback pairing in the league and are not using them. While it is great to see Hudson-Odoi play regularly, he is doing so in a role that limits him. Playing three centre backs means the team cannot pick an additional attacker.

But all said and done, in the context of this game alone, the chosen strategy worked well and the main objective was met. We can only hope that the required modifications are made — both within and between different formations — before tougher games arrive.

RATING: 7


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

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Made a couple of solid, if not spectacular, saves that should hopefully restore his confidence a bit more. His distribution started a bit shakily but he eventually settled into the game.

Stats of note
4 saves
8 passes over 40 yards completed (17 attempted)

RATING: 6.5


Callum Hudson-Odoi

Got into plenty of promising positions but could not make full use of them. His decision-making was unusually disappointing and he was too passive in his play. His defensive work, however, was very solid.

Stats of note
5 carries into penalty box - 1st among Chelsea players
11 progressive carries - Joint 1st
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
16 pressures - Joint 2nd
8 touches in penalty box - Joint 2nd
6 progressive passes received - 3rd
4 shot-creating actions - 3rd

RATING: 6


César Azpilicueta

Very robust defensively and dealt with the Saint-Maximin - Lewis duo effectively. Could have done a lot better on the ball.

Stats of note
18 pressures - 1st
4 interceptions - 1st
4 tackles - Joint 1st
4 clearances - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Newcastle United/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Andreas Christensen

Had another effective outing on the back of his encouraging performance against Sheffield United. Was equally comfortable handling the different kinds of threats posed by Almiron, Gayle, Joelinton, and Carroll. His safety-first approach in possession, even in the first half, was similar to those of his defensive partners.

Stats of note
2 shots blocked - 1st
4 aerial duels won (6 contested) - Joint 2nd
4 clearances - Joint 2nd
10 loose-ball recoveries - 3rd

RATING: 7


Antonio Rüdiger

Was the least involved defensively among the three centre backs, with Newcastle’s right flank offering not much threat. Found himself in a string of favorable aerial duels and won most of them.

Stats of note
6 aerial duels won (7 contested) - 1st
15 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
4 passes into final third - 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Marcos Alonso

His tendency to shoot rather than cross or pass was a tad annoying at times, especially in good locations inside the box. Was too slow to take decisions at times too, slowing down attacks that needed a quick pass to be jolted into life. His ability to move the ball upfield was very good.

Stats of note
5 shots - 1st
5 clearances - 1st
7 progressive passes - 2nd
10 progressive carries - 2nd
4 carries into final third - 2nd
11 loose-ball recoveries - 2nd
5 shot-creating actions - 2nd
2 passes into final third - Joint 2nd
8 touches in penalty box - Joint 2nd
4 aerial duels won (5 contested) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Paul Childs - Pool/Getty Images

Mateo Kovačić

Connected the defence and midfield incredibly well, progressing the ball by both passing and carrying. His ability to dribble through tight spaces was particularly useful in evading Newcastle’s fleeting spells of pressure in the second half. After his massive improvement under Lampard, Kovacic seems to have been revitalized once again under Tuchel.

Stats of note
13 progressive passes - 1st
9 passes into final third - 1st
3 passes into penalty box - 1st
5 successful dribbles (5 attempted) - 1st
4 tackles - Joint 1st
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
3 progressive carries - 3rd

RATING: 8


Jorginho

Newcastle was happy to let him have the ball as opposed to Kovacic and their approach was justified by Jorginho’s quiet display. It did not move the scales in either direction and was a nondescript display.

Stats of note
4 tackles - Joint 1st

8 passes into final third - 2nd

2 interceptions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 5.5


Mason Mount

Took some solid set-pieces but his overall game was not at its best. Tuchel’s system has minimized his workload as the primary ball progressor, leaving him to focus on final third play. While he did combine well with other attackers, his performance on the whole was underwhelming.

Stats of note
5 key passes - 1st
7 shot-creating actions - 1st
8 progressive passes received - 2nd
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6


Tammy Abraham

Was starting to get into the game when he suffered an unlucky injury. The injury itself was caused by a good run and an underrated piece of technique to control the ball. A very rash tackle will now confine him to the sidelines for the near, and maybe far, future.

Stats of note
N/A

RATING: N/A


Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Paul Childs - Pool/Getty Images

Timo Werner

His movement with and without the ball was a constant menace to the opponents. His misses may be unimpressive, but it is better to see a player get consistently on the end of gilt-edged chances than watching him hide. It is worth noting that Werner has had a part to play in all five of Chelsea’s last league goals, too.

Stats of note
1 goal
10 touches in penalty box - 1st
4 shots - 1st
5 carries into final third - 1st
3 carries into penalty box - 2nd
2 key passes - Joint 2nd
11 progressive carries - Joint 1st

RATING: 7.5


Substitutes

Olivier Giroud (62nd minute) — Dropped unusually deep, even by his standards, at times, to spread play. His goal was down to smart movement in the box.

Stats of note
1 goal
4 progressive passes - 3rd

RATING: 6.5

N’Golo Kanté (70th minute) — Had a few nice touches and runs but there is not much that can be said based on a 20-minute cameo in a game that was being put to rest.

Reece James (78th minute) — Took a dangerous-looking shot but did not do much beyond that.