Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have had one of the greatest starts in the Premier League season as they sit at the top of the league standings with 22 points from nine league games. The Blues have proven themselves to be one of the most serious challengers for the league title season, showing tremendous class in defense, as well as going forward. In this post, we will focus on the defense stats produced by the in-form European Champions.
The reigning European Champions have been showing their defensive and technical superiority on the pitch time and again. They have just conceded three goals in the opening nine games, out of which, the goals against Liverpool and Southampton have been from the penalty spot, and the one conceded against Manchester City is the only goal they’ve conceded from open play. Thomas Tuchel’s team have used five different centre-back trios in the first ten league games, and despite these changes, have still managed to keep seven clean sheets.
The above viz shows the xGA or the expected goals against stat for all the teams in the Premier League. Chelsea have the second-lowest xGA of 10.74 in all of the Premier League, only more than Man City’s 7.14. Man City, however, have conceded six goals in their first ten games and currently are in the third position, five points behind the Blues, who have just conceded the three goals so far in the Premier League. In their three UCL games as well, Chelsea have just conceded one goal, meaning they have conceded just four goals in thirteen games.
Impressively, Tuchel’s men have not been shy of making clearances and have made the second-most clearances in the entire Premier League. Normally, the teams that play from the back generally tend to have very few clearances, like Pep Guardiola’s Man City, who have the least clearances. Chelsea have played out from the back as well, but they have also made a lot of clearances.
A majorly impressive part of Chelsea’s defensive prowess early this season is that Tuchel has used five different centre-back trios in the ten league games:
- Chalobah – Christensen – Rudiger (vs Crystal Palace)
- Rudiger – Christensen – Azpilicueta (vs Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City)
- Chalobah – Silva – Rudiger (vs Aston Villa, Southampton, Norwich City)
- Rudiger – Silva – Christensen (vs Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United)
- Sarr – Christensen – Chalobah (vs Brentford)
Despite using so many different pairings, Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea have been able to stay strong in defense and have conceded just three goals in the league, against Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester City, with the goals against Liverpool and Southampton conceded from the penalty spot. The Blues have only conceded one goal from open play in the first ten league games.
The above viz shows the PPDA (pass per defensive action) values for various Premier League teams. The value is the average number of passes the opponents can complete before the team makes a defensive action. This number is generally low for a high pressing team like Liverpool and higher for a poor defensive team. The value is in the middle for teams who keep hold of the possession and build-up play from the back, like Manchester City and Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have been very strong going forward and defensively the strongest. If they keep both their attacking and defensive form ongoing in the upcoming week, they look to be sure shots to win the Premier League this season.