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Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

The numbers behind the game

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Overview

Chelsea lost a close — albeit drab — encounter against arguably the best team in the world, showing our usual defensive solidity and lack of offensive firepower. The team put out were designed to stop City from being their usual free-flowing selves and succeeded in the task but were not able to take advantage of the sparse offensive opportunities created.

This game did not teach anything new about our players or our system — underlining familiar strengths and weaknesses. There does not need to be an over-reaction about the result or the performances but at the same time, the game highlighted some clear areas to improve that should not be brushed aside.


Match statistics

Stats are from fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Thomas Tuchel

There is a lot of nuance needed when analyzing Tuchel’s individual performance. Focusing on the positives first, he did exceedingly well to limit arguably the world’s best team to just one clear chance. City never looked fluent and we did a great job in pushing them into uncomfortable zones. That Tuchel did this without our starting full backs makes him worthy of even more praise.

At the same time, our offensive setup got more puzzling as the game went on. Starting Ziyech on the left and Pulisic on the right was an unpopular call but there was some reasoning behind it — the two provided the width that could not be provided by our starting two wing-backs. However, this left Lukaku totally isolated down the middle and easy to defend. Even though it was clear to see the formation was not working, Tuchel took a tad too long to change it up.

However, it is a testament to our manager’s skill that despite a sub-optimal offensive setup, we could have snatched a better result had we converted some of our chances. Going forward, the aim must be to start one more attacker and provide greater support to our offense.

RATING: 7.5


Kepa Arrizabalaga — GK

Had a mixed bag display. His save from a 1v1 situation against Grealish was truly exceptional and highlighted a massive improvement in his game, as suggested by goalkeeping expert John Harrison.

At the same time, he made a complete hash of De Bruyne’s shot and showcased his past weaknesses. His distribution was also a major step down compared to what we get from Mendy usually, not completing even one of his attempted 16 long passes — one of which led directly to the goal conceded.

RATING: 6.5


Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

César Azpilicueta — RWB

Was solid defensively, holding fort ably and keeping City’s Grealish-Cancelo axis quiet. However, he could not provide the usual dynamism we need from our wing-backs.

Stats of note
6 clearances — 1st
3 aerial duels won (4 contested) — 1st
2 shots-creating actions — T-1st
2 touches in box — T-1st
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) — 2nd
3 progressive passes — T-2nd
3 interceptions — T-2nd

RATING: 7


Antonio Rüdiger — RCB

Played on the right-side for the first time in a meaningful game under Tuchel and did a good job defensively. However, his ball-progression was below its usual levels and it hindered Chelsea’s attempts to put City on the back foot.

Stats of note
5 clearances — 2nd
3 progressive passes — T-2nd
2 passes into final third — 3rd

RATING: 6.5


Thiago Silva — CB

Got caught in a slightly awkward position for the goal — momentarily blinding Kepa — but was solid as usual otherwise.

Stats of note
3 interceptions — T-2nd

RATING: 7


Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Malang Sarr — LCB

Was handed a surprising start and presented a great image of himself. Did a commendable job defending our box and stepped up well when needed. However, his lack of confidence on the ball was very visible.

Stats of note
6 interceptions — 1st
12 loose-ball recoveries — 1st
4 tackles — 2nd
2 clearances — T-3rd

RATING: 7.5


Marcos Alonso — LWB

Similar to the Liverpool match, this was a quietly impressive defensive display, although he did not rack up numbers on that front. However, the offensive side was sub-par and he looked a shadow of his usual marauding self, especially close to the opponent’s box.

Stats of note
3 passes into final third — 2nd
4 progressive carries — 2nd
2 clearances — T-3rd

RATING: 6.5


Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Mateo Kovačić — RCM

Was the team’s best player on the afternoon, creating a great chance for Lukaku and doing a brilliant job defensively. He was also the team’s best ball-progressor all game, evading pressure and moving the ball forward very impressively.

Stats of note
5 passes into final third — 1st
5 progressive passes — 1st
43 pressures — 1st
3 successful dribbles (3 attempted) — 1st
2 shots-creating actions — T-1st
5 tackles — T-1st
5 progressive carries — T-1st
8 loose-ball recoveries — 2nd

RATING: 8


N’Golo Kanté — LCM

Was outstanding defensively, nipping several promising City attacks in the bud. However, he had a poor game on the ball by his standards, settling for easy passes instead of attempting to move it forward. The best word to describe his passing and carrying would be unambitious, something that is rarely ever associated with him.

Stats of note
5 tackles — T-1st
29 pressures — 2nd
7 loose-ball recoveries — 3rd

RATING: 7


Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

Christian Pulisic — RW/R-AM

Was asked to stretch play on the right wing and struggled fulfilling this tactical brief. His ability to get into dangerous positions in and around the box was largely missing and he could not compensate with his dribbling skills.

Stats of note
5 progressive carries — T-1st
2 progressive passes received — T-2nd
25 pressures — 3rd

RATING: 5.5


Romelu Lukaku – CF

Lukaku is another player who requires a lot of nuance when being analyzed, especially due to the emotionally charged nature of the discourse surrounding him. Objectively, this was a firm step backwards after a couple of promising showings against Tottenham. And we are certainly right to feel frustrated about his missed chances in recent big games.

However, it must also be kept in mind that the 3-4-3 we usually employ does not get the best out of him, mainly due to the lack of support he has. His best performances for us have come with another striker next to him — be it Havertz or Werner. While it is on him to do a lot better individually in certain situations, we are also not providing him with conducive circumstances. There is improvement to be done all round.

There is no need to panic with Lukaku, mainly because of his pedigree and the fact we have a tactical mastermind in charge. This period is frustrating for everyone involved but with some small changes — from Lukaku, Tuchel and our other players — we should see dramatic improvements.

Stats of note
6 progressive passes received — 1st

RATING: 5


Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

Hakim Ziyech – LW/L-AM

Like Pulisic, Ziyech could not provide what was asked of him. He was totally anonymous during his time on the pitch and could not provide any of his usual positives.

Stats of note
2 carries into final third — 1st
2 progressive passes received — T-2nd

RATING: 5.5


Substitutes

Timo Werner (69th minute) – Was more penetrative than the starting wide attackers but got easily contained.

Stats of note
2 touches in box — T-1st

Callum Hudson-Odoi (69th minute) – It was difficult to see what he was doing on the pitch or what was asked of him. He was passive in his passing and did not look threatening at all.

Mason Mount (81st minute) — A quiet cameo.

Stats of note
2 progressive passes received — T-2nd