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Crystal Palace 1-4 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

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

Overview

Chelsea put up their slickest attacking play in months on the way to a 4-1 romp away at Crystal Palace, with a very young front three leading the way and delivering the goods. Chelsea cut through their opponents through a variety of means, ranging from set-pieces and long-balls to intricately woven play in the final third.

Pulisic, Havertz and Mount got the best out of each other, displaying a level of chemistry and understanding that we have not seen enough from our attackers this season. Their day was made easier by the midfield hoovering up every loose-ball and moving play quickly, giving Palace no respite.

It is not an exaggeration to say this was the best display under Thomas Tuchel, certainly from an attacking sense and to make things better, Palace were kept quiet for large parts of the game, too, except for one lapse in concentration. There are very few games where almost every aspect of the team’s performance is overwhelmingly positive, but this was is one of them.


Match statistics

Statistics from fbref and understat.

Note: some statistics on the player charts might not corroborate with those presented in the “stats of note” sections. This is because the stats for the charts are obtained from a different source and not fbref. In most cases, the differences will be minimal — such as Hudson-Odoi having 3 successful dribbles according to fbref and 2 according to Opta.


Individual ratings

Thomas Tuchel

Chose a well-balanced front three, picking players capable of both receiving the ball to feet and in space to varying extents. The introduction of Pulisic, in particular, revitalized the team’s offense since he offered the off-the-ball movement Werner does along with more confidence on the ball.

The team’s improved attacking play was facilitated by early passes from midfield and defence, especially to find the wing-backs in acres of space. This was something the team did not do often in the preceding months due to our prioritization of defensive solidity, instead opting to move the ball more methodically and with more men behind the ball.

Most encouragingly for Chelsea, the offensive improvement did not come at the expense of defensive structure. If the team can consistently maintain this balance, the chances of ending the season with a trophy will improve dramatically.

RATING: 8


Édouard Mendy — GK

Did not have much to do and the only shot Chelsea allowed was an excellent, hard-to-save header.

RATING: 6


Callum Hudson-Odoi — RWB

This was arguably his finest all-round performance for Chelsea. Hudson-Odoi’s passing, ball-carrying and ball recovery were all at very high levels statistically, ranking among the best in the team. While his execution was not always perfect, his decision-making was superb for large stretches of the game too.

Note: Fbref’s passing table has 4 key passes credited to Hudson-Odoi’s name while the shot-by-shot table has 5. The former seems to be an aberration as he has 5 key passes according to other data providers too.

Stats of note
1 assist
5 key passes - 1st among Chelsea players
5 passes into penalty box - 1st
14 progressive carries - 1st
3 carries into penalty box - 1st
15 progressive passes received - 1st
15 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
3 successful dribbles (4 attempted) - Joint 1st
5 carries into final third - Joint 1st
9 progressive passes - 2nd
3 tackles - Joint 2nd
7 touches in penalty box - Joint 2nd
5 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 8.5


César Azpilicueta — RCB

Did his usual duties on the ball, keeping things moving without taking many risks. His defending for the goal conceded was a bit disappointing however, as he moved into no-man’s land while trying to defend Schlupp by dropping.

Stats of note
10 passes into final third - 2nd
3 clearances - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6.5


Kurt Zouma — CB

Was imperious in the air, winning duels against Benteke, a traditional target man, with ease. Defended the box sensibly, opting to get rid of the ball rather than play it out.

Stats of note
1 goal
9 aerial duels won (12 contested) - 1st
9 clearances - Joint 1st
3 interceptions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7.5


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

Antonio Rüdiger — LCB

Looked very sharp in the way he timed his passes, continuing his recent good form on the ball. Could have done slightly better on the goal conceded as he got drawn too much towards the ball-carrier instead of focusing on Benteke.

Stats of note
9 clearances - Joint 1st
3 aerial duels won (4 contested) - 2nd
9 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 2nd
9 passes into final third - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Ben Chilwell — LWB

Had an excellent performance even if he could not get a goal or assist. Chilwell was excellent in carrying the ball, got involved in attacks and for the first time this season, showed great chemistry with Pulisic. Performances like this one are what he was signed for.

Stats of note
5 carries into final third - Joint 1st
6 shot-creating actions - 2nd
3 shots - Joint 2nd
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
3 interceptions - Joint 2nd
3 clearances - Joint 2nd
9 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 2nd
8 progressive carries - 3rd

RATING: 7.5


Jorginho — RCM

Had a great game on the ball, taking care of the finer details exceptionally well. He was especially important in finding free runners — mostly Chilwell or Hudson-Odoi — with his well-executed lofted passes over the defence. Was good defensively too, recovering the ball without getting beat in midfield (dribbled past 0 times as opposed to 3 or 4 times in recent games).

Stats of note
5 interceptions - 1st
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
3 tackles - Joint 2nd
8 progressive passes - 3rd
9 passes into final third - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7.5


Mateo Kovačić — LCM

Had an outstanding game, nailing his long passes and progressing play at will. When Kovačić plays like this, there are few midfielders in the league who are capable of keeping up with him. He is in a great run of form at the moment, the key is to find the right balance to keep this momentum going without running him into the ground.

Stats of note
12 passes into final third - 1st
12 progressive passes - 1st
3 successful dribbles (4 attempted) - Joint 1st
27 pressures - 3rd
2 aerial duels won (2 contested) - 3rd

RATING: 8


Mason Mount — RW/R-AM

Created some great chances from both open play and set-pieces. For a 15-20 minute spell in the first half, Mount was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch and took the game by the scruff of its neck. Outside that, this was a typically efficient Mount performance.

Stats of note
1 assist
9 shot-creating actions - 1st
5 shots - Joint 1st
4 key passes - Joint 2nd
28 pressures - 2nd
11 progressive carries - 2nd
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
3 tackles - Joint 2nd
7 touches in penalty box - Joint 2nd
3 carries into final third - Joint 2nd
6 progressive passes - 3rd
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) - 3rd
9 progressive passes received - 3rd

RATING: 8


Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Kai Havertz — CF

Was phenomenal in every aspect of centre forward play except for finishing. Did a great job dropping deep to involve his teammates, ran behind the defence to get on the end of chances and physically matched Palace’s defenders — no mean feat. Exhibited the filthiest piece of skill by a Chelsea player all season by flicking a ball over a defender before volleying. On another day, he could have easily walked away with the match ball on top of the great performance.

Stats of note
1 goal
1 assist
11 touches in penalty box - 1st
5 shots - Joint 1st
13 progressive passes received - 2nd

RATING: 8


Christian Pulisic — LW/L-AM

Scored two goals by identifying and exploiting space, two things he does better than anyone else in the squad. It is remarkable how much better he is when he is asked to do things he is good at — that is, be an off-ball menace who comes alive in and around the box — as opposed to being asked to be our Messi, which was the case around the turn of the year.

Stats of note
2 goals
34 pressures - 1st
3 shots - Joint 2nd
4 key passes - Joint 2nd
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
3 carries into final third - Joint 2nd
5 shot-creating actions - Joint 3rd

RATING: 8.5


Substitutes

N’Golo Kanté (61st minute) — Took some time to settle into the game but looked comfortable after the first few minutes.

Reece James (76th minute) — Was heavily involved in offensive play once he was introduced, although he could not score or assist.

Hakim Ziyech (83rd minute) — Found himself on the bench due to some bad luck and timing but showed no signs of rust when he came on. Played a delightful through ball to Havertz.