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Chelsea 2-5 West Bromwich Albion, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Overview

In a scarcely believable game, Chelsea were systematically picked off by the second worst team in the league in a way no other team have done. And West Brom were arguably the better team even before Thiago Silva’s sending off, too.

As has been the case in most games against “smaller” teams, Chelsea struggled to create chances when the game was level. Christian Pulisic opened the scoring after Alonso hit the woodwork from a free-kick, before Chelsea capitulated late in the first half. From thereon, it was a case of West Brom putting up the performance of their lives, executing every counter-attack with clinical precision.

Chelsea tried chasing the game — the xG tally was boosted due to game-state — but in vain, as West Brom were too far ahead to be caught. For the time being, this game can be viewed as nothing but a freak occurrence from a defensive perspective. Offensively, it is a different story altogether as Chelsea struggled yet again to look cohesive.


Match statistics

Statistics from fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Thomas Tuchel

While the starting XI was slightly bizarre at first sight, it was clearly selected with the Porto game and fatigue from the international break in mind, explaining why the likes of Antonio Rüdiger and Mason Mount did not make the starting eleven. On that front, there was not much blame on Tuchel. Rotations had to be made at some point and this was it.

Tactically, this was more of the same as the past few games. While the 3-4-3 works splendidly in big games, it poses a major handicap when the onus is on Chelsea to break inferior opponents down. Even the go-ahead goal had its fair share of fortune, stemming from a favourable ricochet from a free-kick. To put it simply, a team as good as Chelsea cannot be as bad as we are right now at creating during even game-states.

Chelsea’s lack of threat going forward makes it easier for opponents to press us higher up the pitch — safe in the knowledge we cannot harm their going forward — and this was evident from minute 1. Something has to be done to make the team better in attack, both collectively and individually.

RATING: 5


Édouard Mendy

While West Brom finished exceptionally well — as reflected by their post-shot xG as compared to their conventional xG — Mendy could have done better on a couple of goals. Though the result was not on him, but he has had way better games.

RATING: 4.5


Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Reece James

Had a poor performance despite flattering stats. His flank was regularly targeted by West Brom and Pereira in particular had plenty of joy. James was effectively moved to a right-wing position in the second half but did not create much going forward. Got beat too often in 1v1 dribbling duels.

Stats of note
4 key passes - 1st
3 passes into penalty box - 1st
3 interceptions - Joint 1st
7 shot-creating actions - 1st
6 progressive passes - 2nd
4 tackles - 2nd
18 pressures - 2nd
8 progressive passes received - 2nd
2 successful dribbles (4 attempted) - 3rd
4 touches in penalty box - Joint 3rd
6 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 5


César Azpilicueta

Not a good display at all, though none of the goals were directly on him. Considering how often he was on the ball, his passing was very poor and that acted as a handicap when Chelsea tried to play out quickly.

Stats of note
3 interceptions - Joint 1st
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
8 clearances - Joint 2nd
7 progressive carries - Joint 2nd
2 key passes - 3rd
2 tackles - Joint 3rd
2 carries into final third - Joint 3rd
2 aerial duels won (3 contested) - Joint 3rd
6 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 5


Thiago Silva

Started the game very positively on the ball but his night came to an early end due to two yellow cards. While he could have displayed better judgement on the second one in particular, the sending off was pretty harsh.

Stats of note
3 passes into final third - Joint 3rd
6 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: N/A


Kurt Zouma

Was culpable for multiple West Brom goals, with his tendency to lose his man proving fatal on the night. Could, and should, have scored a goal too at the other end from a set piece.

Stats of note
4 shots - Joint 1st
4 aerial duels won (5 contested) - 2nd
8 clearances - Joint 2nd
5 progressive passes - 3rd

RATING: 4


Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Marcos Alonso

Was active, but ineffective, when attacking. Chelsea found him free on multiple occasions but a loose technique and bad decision-making let him down. Took a gem of a free-kick that led to Pulisic’s goal. (Ed.note: and also had a shot cleared off the line.)

Stats of note
9 touches in penalty box - 1st
9 progressive passes received - 1st
3 interceptions - Joint 1st
3 shots - 2nd
7 progressive carries - Joint 2nd
2 carries into final third - Joint 3rd
6 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 5.5


Mateo Kovačić

Was Chelsea’s best player on the ball. Did a good job of beating West Brom midfielders in order to progress play. However, he lost the ball quite often close to our own goal and his lack of defensive awareness came to the fore as well. All in all, he is perhaps the only player who can claim to emerge from the game with his reputation intact.

Stats of note
7 passes into final third - 1st
11 progressive passes - 1st
7 tackles - 1st
19 pressures - 1st
7 successful dribbles (9 attempted) - 1st
13 progressive carries - 1st
7 passes into final third - 1st
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
4 shot-creating actions - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Adam Fradgley - AMA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

Jorginho

Had a rancid display. It were his poor passes that led to both of Thiago Silva’s yellows and his ill-judged header led to a West Brom goal as well. It was surprising to see him last 70 minutes since every other touch of his had a negative impact on what Chelsea were trying to achieve.

Stats of note
3 carries into final third - 2nd
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
7 progressive carries - Joint 2nd
3 passes into final third - Joint 3rd

RATING: 3


Hakim Ziyech

Was subbed off before he could fully impose himself on the game. It is hard to rate his performance or fault him for anything.

Stats of note
N/A

RATING: N/A


Timo Werner

Though his passing was largely good, he had a hard time finding spaces to get shots off. Did get an assist to his name, but it was not a great performance even if he was at a disadvantage once Chelsea went down to 10 men, receiving very little service.

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

RATING: 5.5


Christian Pulisic

Got a goal thanks to smart off-the-ball movement from a free kick. His inability to remain fit or mesh with other attackers in open play, however, are major concerns.

Stats of note
1 goal

RATING: 6


Substitutes

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Andreas Christensen (33rd minute) — Was active in defending the box once he came on but it is hard to be positive about a defender whose team conceded 5 goals.

Stats of note
9 clearances - 1st
6 aerial duels won (9 contested) - 1st

RATING: 5

Mason Mount (46th minute) — Got a goal after some good work from Werner but did not have a great display otherwise.

Stats of note
1 goal
4 shots - Joint 1st
2 passes into penalty box - Joint 2nd
8 loose-ball recoveries - 3rd
2 aerial duels won (2 contested) - Joint 3rd

RATING: 5.5

Kai Havertz (72nd minute) — Could not influence the game.