I WAS PLANNING to write up the usual match analysis piece but a couple of very good articles already have that covered. Go read this one from ZonalMarking, that one from WeAintGotNoHistory and this one from TTTFootball. I agree with most of what they have to say on the game. From my part, I'd like to share some charts and statistics that I found interesting from this game.
Manchester Is Not Leicester
|Chart 1. Pass Statistics via StatsZone|
City totally dominated this game. The fact that they made 490 passes out of 560 attempts while Chelsea could only made 290 out of 363attempts and the fact that they made 184 passes in the attacking third out of 232 attempts while Chelsea made 73 out of 99 should tell us how dominant the Citizens were. But Chart 1, which lists the top ten passers in general and in the attacking third, just highlights how far behind Chelsea were in terms of passing, and consequently possession. Up until this game, Roberto di Matteo's Chelsea has played Birmingham, Stoke, Napoli and Leicester -- teams that relied on defending and counter attacking. This first test against a creative team who likes to play possession football did not go very well for Chelsea.
Looking at the individual passing numbers in the midfield, only Mikel seems to come out looking slightly good; he made a total of 48 passes and only misplaced one pass, which is about 98 percent pass completion. On the other hand, it looks pretty poor for Lampard that Barry who came on at half time attempted and made more passes than the Chelsea number 8. In terms of passes in the attacking third, Tevez who was on the pitch for about 30 minutes attempted and made more passes than Chelsea's creative force Mata.
Torres the Target Man?
|Chart 2. Passes Received by Torres (Man City) vs Drogba (Napoli)|
One of the talking points in this game is the selection of Torres ahead of Drogba who had played very well against Napoli. I personally would have liked for Drogba to start but I also understand that di Matteo probably wanted to give Torres a chance after his confidence boosting performance against Leicester. What's interesting though is that Chelsea's approach didn't change that much despite having Torres up front instead of Drogba. Chelsea played pretty direct football, making long passes forward, and the Spaniard was played OK as a target man.
Chart 2 compares the passes received by Torres in this game to those received by Drogba in the Napoli game. Generally speaking, the pattern is very similar. Drogba did receive more passes ( 41 to 31) but he also played longer (120 minutes to 73). There were moments when Torres seemed to be running away from the center forward position but his overall performance was fine and he worked very hard off the ball.
|Chart 3. Passes Intercepted by City (left) vs Chelsea (right)|
Interestingly, City and Chelsea made the same number of interceptions (20) in this game. But where each team made most of their interceptions tells a more accurate story of how this game went down. Of their 20 interceptions, City made 10 of them in Chelsea's half. Most of their interceptions were made around the center circle. This is the result of City's pressing from the advance area and Chelsea's poor passing in the midfield.
Chelsea made most of their interception between the 18-yard box and the halfway line -- the zone patrolled by Mikel and Lampard. Thus, it is not surprising that Mikel (4) and Lampard (3) were the top two interceptors among the Chelsea players. Torres should also get an honorable mention here since he also made three interceptions -- an evidence of his hard work off the ball.
The good news for Chelsea is that they won't have to play City again. This was a tough fixture -- quite possibly the toughest fixture of the run-in. Defensively, Chelsea looked very solid against a very creative attacking team. If this were a European fixture, it would have been a decent result with an away goal. But now, the team must prepare for the all important home game against Tottenham. This game WILL decide whether Chelsea will get to play Champions League football next season or not. Spurs are not in good form and they are very beatable. It's time for Chelsea to go up a gear as they did against Napoli.
Carefree, wherever you may be...