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Chelsea 1-0 Zenit St Petersburg, Champions League: Statistical Review and Analysis

The numbers behind the game (waiting for fbref)

FBL-EUR-C1-CHELSEA-ZENIT Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Overview

For the second time in four days, Romelu Lukaku’s goalscoring nous clinched all three points for a subdued Chelsea team. Like the game against Aston Villa, Chelsea did not play particularly well and were made to struggle on both ends. By the final whistle, the difference between the two teams was rather simple: we had Lukaku, they didn’t.

Without sounding overly critical, the team looked scratchy from the first whistle — Mount and Ziyech in particular — and there were few signs of cohesive attacking play. The team looked somewhat loose defensively too, although some crucial interceptions from the back three ensured that Zenit had only one clear opening.

Zenit fought hard but are a team against whom we should be comfortable. We will have to get better with time. However, as against the game against Villa, a subpar performance looks infinitely better with a win rather than dropped points. Results have generated enough momentum, the onus is on us to build on it through good performances.


Match statistics

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.


Individual ratings

Thomas Tuchel

A win is the perfect way to start the group stage and there are no complains about the result. The best way to build confidence as a group is through results and Chelsea’s results have been spotless so far. While our usual defensive equilibrium appears to have been disturbed, Kanté’s return and Saúl’s bedding-in process should hopefully ease those concerns.

Mount, Ziyech and substitute Havertz disappointed to different extents, however, the issue is more systemic. As a unit, along with Lukaku, they were not found in favourable locations to influence the game despite jaw-dropping passing stats. This creativity issue has to be sorted out sooner than later, especially with a run of “easy” games coming up after the visit to City.

RATING: 6.5


Chelsea FC v Zenit St. Petersburg: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Steve Bardens - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Édouard Mendy — GK

Was not called into action often, getting some much-needed respite after the Liverpool and Villa games. The good opportunities Chelsea conceded were either stopped by Rüdiger or Christensen or went off-target.

Stats of note
2 saves

RATING: 6.5


Reece James — RWB

Had a quiet showing and could have done better in a few crossing scenarios. His interplay with Ziyech did not always look good.

Stats of note
17 pressures - Joint 2nd
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) - Joint 2nd
3 shot-creating actions - 3rd
9 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 6.5


César Azpilicueta — RCB

Brought back his whipped cross from the archives to create Chelsea’s only goal. Was troubled in the air but the duels came far enough away from the goal to not be a major problem.

Stats of note
17 progressive carries - 1st
7 carries into final third - 1st
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
8 passes into final third - 3rd
8 progressive passes - 3rd

RATING: 7


Andreas Christensen — CB

Stepped in to nip multiple attacks in the bud and looked very smooth on the ball.

Stats of note
5 clearances - 1st
19 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
3 aerial duels won (3 contested) - Joint 1st

RATING: 7.5


Chelsea FC v Zenit St. Petersburg: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Antonio Rüdiger — LCB

Made a huge last-ditch tackle to prevent a goal-scoring opportunity and looked great in his duels.

Stats of note
3 aerial duels won (4 contested) - Joint 1st
3 clearances - 2nd
11 loose-ball recoveries - 2nd
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Marcos Alonso — LWB

Had a middling performance, with his execution and decision-making both suffering. His performance was slightly leggy, suggesting a break might help.

Stats of note
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
5 touches in box - 3rd
10 progressive passes received - 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Jorginho — RCM

Made a few important defensive actions in midfield to protect the back three, holding his own when Zenit tried to isolate him.

Stats of note
26 passes into final third - 1st
2 tackles - 1st
3 interceptions - 1st
4 passes into box - 2nd
13 progressive passes - 2nd
14 progressive carries - 2nd
17 pressures - Joint 2nd
9 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Mateo Kovačić — LCM

Continued his great recent form, moving the ball superbly and offering dogged defensive work. When he is on song, there are very few midfielders who are more effective in moving the ball forward and even fewer who are better to watch.

Stats of note
17 progressive passes - 1st
4 successful dribbles (4 attempted) - 1st
5 passes into box - Joint 1st
4 shot-creating actions - 2nd
10 passes into final third - 2nd
5 carries into final third - 3rd
9 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 3rd

RATING: 8


Hakim Ziyech — RW/R-AM

Tuchel offered Ziyech a massive statement of confidence by offering him a start despite a not-so-great performance against Villa. Ziyech did show flashes of repaying that faith but could not maintain that consistency over the whole game.

Stats of note
3 shots - 2nd

RATING: 6


Romelu Lukaku – CF

Took his chance exceptionally well, timing his jump and header to perfection. The chance was not easy — a goal is not the expected outcome from that position. Did not get involved much in general play due to his teammates’ inability to find him.

Stats of note
1 goal
4 shots - 1st
14 touches in box - 1st
2 carries into box - 1st
14 progressive passes received - 2nd
2 aerial duels won (2 contested) - 2nd

RATING: 7.5


Chelsea FC v Zenit St. Petersburg: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Mason Mount – LW/L-AM

Had a disappointing performance, full of rust. The high bar Mount has set for himself means his bad games are highlighted more than for others, and this was one. He looked slower than his opponents — a rare occurrence — and did not buzz around with his usual ferocity.

Stats of note
5 shot-creating actions - 1st
18 pressures - 1st
18 progressive passes received - 1st
5 passes into box - Joint 1st
7 touches in box - 2nd
6 carries into final third - 2nd
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) - Joint 2nd
12 progressive carries - 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Substitutes

Kai Havertz (64th minute) – Never got into the game really and was kept on the periphery by Zenit’s schemes.

Thiago Silva (83rd minute) – Was brought on to stabilize the game and did his job well.

Ben Chilwell (83rd minute) – Got his first minutes of the season, albeit without a chance to influence the game.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (93rd minute) – Nothing of note.