On the day when English football mourned the loss of former England striker Jimmy Greaves, it was his former club that produced a brilliant second-half display to ensure that they take home all three points. Thomas Tuchel displayed a tactical masterclass by putting in N’Golo Kante for Mason Mount at the start of the second half.
The substitution allowed Tuchel to change his system from a 3-4-2-1 to 3-5-2, which in turn drove the Blues to gain the upper hand in the midfield and turn the game on its head. Chelsea started creating more and more chances as the second half progressed and ended up scoring three goals, winning 0-3 against their London rivals. The Blues are currently top of the Premier league table joined by Liverpool.
In addition to providing energy and momentum to his team, Kante also ended up scoring via a shot that was deflected and ended up in the back of the net. Tuchel poured Kante with praise for his contribution post-game.
The Frenchman sat out his side’s previous two fixtures because of an ankle concern. Kante’s arrival in the second half enabled the wing-backs Alonso and Azpillicueta to push higher up the field, while Kante stayed near the centre to eliminate any threats that could arise from a counterattack.
Let’s take a look at some stats to understand how Tuchel’s substitution impacted the game in the second half.
Chelsea lined up in a 3-4-2-1 formation during the start of the game but transformed to a 3-5-2 once Tuchel made changes in the second half. Their average position shows that they lined up in a narrow position which became even narrower following Werner and Kante’s introduction. The Blues played with a high defensive line for almost the entirety of the match. The trio of Kante, Kovacic and Jorginho dominated the midfield battles and ensured that any attacks are eliminated at the source.
Chelsea had ten players who took shots in this match. They also happened to have scored through ten different players already this season. The xT timeline shows just how dominant Blues were in the second half, with their opponents barely having anything to show for. The xG timeline follows a similar suit.
For the duration of the match that Kante played in his stats are brilliant. He played 30 successful passes, two of which landed in the opposition 18-yard box. In addition, he ended up scoring a goal as well. Chelsea’s passing zones indicate that they controlled the game in the midfield.
Kante has been effective in the defensive duels won per 90 minutes of the game as well. Tuchel recognized his role as a central defensive midfielder and played it best to his strength. Only a hand full of managers in football can boast squad depth as great as Chelsea’s. Tuchel demonstrated in this match just how effectively he can utilize Chelsea’s squad depth. He has already displayed on multiple occasions his knack and eye for detail. The Blues are relieved to welcome N’Golo Kante back in the squad for their upcoming high-octane clash against title rivals Manchester City.