While many Chelsea players are jetting across the globe with their international sides, it’s time to break down their stats from the start of the season.
Statistics have become an unhealthy obsession in football. We are flooded with facts and data on any given Chelsea match day. The endless cycle begins immediately in the Sky Sports studios, it continues in-game with Martin Tyler and Gary Nevile and rounds out with any standout stats discovered post-fixture.
Players themselves have become addicted to the digits, not only whilst out on the field, but the line of code on a computer screen that somehow determines their ratings on FIFA. Fans too are guilty of grilling an opposition player based on his pass completion rate or the amount of times they were caught offside. All that aside, stats are fun and easy, so let’s crunch the numbers of Chelsea’s Premier League campaign so far and see who rank as the analyst’s favorites.
Unsurprisingly, there are a few categories when the most obvious candidate is certainly living up to their own billing. N’Golo Kante of course leads the pack for tackles (12), interceptions (13) and second for passes blocked (seven). Frank Lampard is finally learning first hand about the Frenchman’s expertise, having been without him for large patches during his maiden term in charge. Perhaps less predictable is his passing figures, which rank him No.1 for total passes attempted (238), 210 of those made up of accurate short passes. Not only can he be a one-man demolition, Kante clearly possesses the ability of an all-round midfield general, which in part can be owed to Maurizio Sarri’s ridiculed decision to deploy him further upfield.
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Timo Werner also ticks the right boxes for his area of expertise. 11 shots are three more than his nearest challenger, four of those hitting target. The German’s accuracy only matched by the spot-kick connoisseur, Jorginho. What may worry Werner is that the Italian is currently outscoring him three to nothing as the new recruit continues his quest to open his account in Chelsea blue. Finding the net might be a short term issue, but outsmarting the opponent has been a breeze for the 24-year-old. Eight successful dribbles have Werner in front of all his Blues teammates; behind him by a singular dribble is—again, met with an air of astonishment—Kante.
Another German getting to grips with the style of England, Kai Havertz is gradually adapting to his new settings. Despite bagging a hat-trick against Barnsley in the League Cup, he is yet to register in the league, adding one assist in his four appearances. Although, like Werner, his contribution goes much deeper than simply putting the ball in the back of the net. Havertz has made six key passes—joint with Mason Mount in the silver medal position—and is unrivaled aerially, winning eight of his thirteen flighted duels.
A mark of two young men making their way in unfamiliar territory, Havertz and Werner have 27 unsuccessful touches between them. Unfortunately, that number is two more than the next five players combined. The former has been dispossessed on four occasions and the latter three as the pair get to grips with the organised chaos of the English game. Havertz has fully immersed himself in the culture by committing six fouls, level with the serial foul offender, Jorginho.
Kurt Zouma deserves a mention for his 13 clearances, a quantity only unlucky for opposition forwards. Two goals included, the defender has strode into the season with the purpose of becoming the Blues first-choice center-back. Now for some Mason Mount love, because he doesn’t get enough of that around here. Gareth Southgate and Lampard’s love child has dipped his toes across a variety of departments: seven tackles (joint third), eight passes blocked (first), nine shots (second), six successful dribbles (third), six key passes (joint second) and one goal.
On a broader scale, Chelsea as a whole has faired well in numerous subsections. Noticeably, the Blues have achieved a pass accuracy of 87.3 percent, top of the pile in this respect. They sit third for average possession on 56.1percent with Liverpool and Manchester City understandable way out on their own. A stat that is not typically associated with the Blues is the team’s capability in the air, winning 63 percent of aerial duels, which again pits them in pole position.
The only number that truly matters is where Chelsea sits in the league table going into matchweek five. Seventh is not an awful location, however, looking up at Everton and Aston Villa in the driving seat should act as motivation for the Blues to bump up figure a couple of notches.