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Southampton 0-6 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

The numbers behind the game

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Overview

After arguably the toughest week of the season, Chelsea bounced back to form with an emphatic 6-0 win powered by two elite midfielders playing at an incredibly high level. While several players — especially the attackers and wingbacks — shone brightly, it was the performances of Mateo Kovačić and N’Golo Kanté that drove the victory.

If the two midfielders maintain a similar level of performance — when depends upon fitness more than any other factor — we can be quietly confident about competing against any team in the world in any one-off game. Southampton were not particularly good but it was caused by their inability to deal with our midfield intensity and sheer quality.


Match statistics

Stats are from fbref and understat.


Individual ratings

Thomas Tuchel

Adopted a system similar to last season’s Champions League run, with Mount acting as a number 10 behind two forwards and ahead of two midfielders. The system predictably worked a treat, too, with almost all players in positions suited to their skill-sets. It is games like this that remind the world how good some of our players are while also reminding that some of them have been grossly misused.

The hope is that Tuchel sticks with this setup for big games the rest of this season, especially in Europe and the FA Cup.

Tuchel deserves a lot of praise for re-imagining the suitability of players to different roles. Loftus-Cheek, for example, performed excellently as a wing-back. While he may not be a long-term solution, the manager’s ability to come up with solutions for specific games is as good as anyone in world football.

RATING: 9


Édouard Mendy — GK

Had a largely uneventful game, making only one save of note. We adopted a very short buildup scheme too — something we rarely do under Tuchel — and as a result, Mendy did not even attempt a single long pass.

RATING: 6.5


Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Ruben Loftus-Cheek — RWB

Despite nominally playing as a wing-back, Loftus-Cheek tucked into midfield and offered solid support against transitions. His attacking role was different to our other wing-backs, too, offering less running and more passing. All in all, a very satisfactory display.

Stats of note
4 aerial duels won (5 contested) — 1st
3 carries into final third — 2nd
2 interceptions — T-2nd
8 progressive carries — 3rd
2 passes into penalty box — T-3rd

RATING: 7.5


Andreas Christensen — RCB

Was outstanding in both ground and aerial duels, gobbling up Southampton attackers every time they entered his zone. If there is even a 1% chance he extends at Chelsea, the club should seriously pursue it.

Stats of note
8 clearances — 1st
14 loose-ball recoveries — 1st
7 aerial duels won (8 contested) — 1st
2 interceptions — T-2nd

RATING: 8


Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Thiago Silva — CB

Had arguably his easiest evening of the season — picking out passes at will and never being called into serious defensive action. After a couple of difficult displays, he needed this.

Stats of note
2 interceptions — T-2nd

RATING: 7.5


Antonio Rüdiger — LCB

Like Christensen, Rüdiger was awesome in ground duels in wider zones. His ball-playing was awesome too, aided by the time and space afforded.

Stats of note
3 interceptions — T-1st
11 progressive passes — 2nd
10 progressive carries — 2nd
11 passes into final-third — T-2nd
5 tackles — T-2nd
4 clearances — T-2nd
3 aerial duels won (3 contested) — T-3rd

RATING: 8


Marcos Alonso — LWB

Took excellent set pieces and had a solid final-third display. After a long while, we saw Alonso attack the box the way he used to regularly between 2016 and 2018.

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

RATING: 9


N’Golo Kanté — RCM

Was terrific on both sides of the ball, progressing play and preventing Southampton from doing the same. After a couple of weird games where he got way more touches in the final third than he should, this was a welcome return to routine.

Stats of note
13 passes into final-third — 1st
26 pressures — 1st
12 progressive carries — 1st
5 tackles — T-2nd
2 successful dribbles (2 attempted) — T-2nd
12 loose-ball recoveries — T-2nd
10 progressive passes — 3rd
4 shot-creating actions — T-3rd

RATING: 9


Mateo Kovačić — LCM

Was arguably the best player on the pitch, doing everything Kanté did but at an even higher level. It will forever remain a mystery why this midfield pivot did not start the game against Real Madrid considering recent individual form, fatigue and quality.

Stats of note
12 progressive passes — 1st
6 tackles — 1st
3 passes into penalty box — 2nd
23 pressures — 2nd
2 key passes — T-2nd
11 passes into final-third — T-2nd
2 successful dribbles (3 attempted) — T-2nd
12 loose-ball recoveries — T-2nd
4 shot-creating actions — T-3rd

RATING: 9.5


Mason Mount — CM/C-AM

Like Kanté, Mount returned to a role that suits him best after a couple of wonky games. The best way to get the maximum out of Mount has been to give him as many touches as possible. This enables him to receive in deeper positions, beat the opposition press and progress play. However, the form and fitness of other attackers means Mount has been pushed into an unnatural position as an out-and-out attacker and as a result, his form has cratered.

While his end product has been outstanding this season, his real value lies in the subtle things he does and we need to do more to put him in the right environment to express them. He established himself as a near-world-class player last season because of his progression, defensive work and IQ — we need to restore him to those levels as soon as we can.

However, this is not to say end product should not be expected from him or that we do not need it. The point is that he is better as a deeper player and despite the enhanced end product when he plays as an attacker, the overall loss in our quality of play is not really worth it.

Note: Mount averaged 71.4 touches per 90 in the league last season (~0.8 per minute) but is averaging just 58 (~0.65 per minute) this season. His touches in the attacking third have remained constant in both seasons (~34.6 per 90) but his touches in midfield have dropped from 34.2 to 21.1 — a deeply alarming fall.

Stats of note
2 goals
1 assist
4 passes into penalty box — 1st
4 carries into final third — T-1st
3 shots — T-2nd
4 shot-creating actions — T-3rd

RATING: 9


Norwich City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Kai Havertz — RF

Had a comfortable 45 minutes before being rested. Grabbed himself a goal, participated in some nice interplays and did not over-exert himself.

Stats of note
1 goal
3 successful dribbles (3 attempted) — 1st
2 key passes — T-2nd
10 progressive passes received — 3rd

RATING: 8


Timo Werner – LF

Was moved to a slightly more central role — akin to the one he played late last season — and had a very active offensive play. Was our primary outlet when progressing play and tormented Southampton with his pace.

Stats of note
2 goals
8 shots — 1st
13 touches in box — 1st
3 carries into box — 1st
15 progressive passes received — 1st
5 shot-creating actions — 2nd
2 successful dribbles (3 attempted) — T-2nd

RATING: 9


Substitutes

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Christian Pulisic (46th minute) – Got a run-out as a split striker but could not grab himself a goal or an assist.

Stats of note
19 pressures — 3rd
4 touches in box — 3rd

RATING: 6.5

Reece James (63rd minute) — Was afforded acres of space but did not really show the intent to make the most of it.

Stats of note
4 carries into final third — T-1st

Hakim Ziyech (63rd minute) – Had a sedate showing.

Stats of note
2 key passes — T-2nd
2 passes into penalty box — T-3rd