Brentford’s Thomas Frank perfectly summed what Chelsea lacked in spite of their resolute defensive performance in the 1-0 away win on Saturday.
In his post-match interview with Chelsea TV, Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea were very strong in the first 70 minutes and very lucky to escape with the three points in the last 20 minutes.
“Very strong”, however, was arguably an overstatement.
According to Opta (via Squawka), the home side had expected goals of 1.95, over 700 percent more than Chelsea’s 0.27.
Ben Chilwell’s outstanding strike and Edouard Mendy’s resolute goalkeeping proved to be the difference in the end. But as Brentford boss Frank highlighted, Chelsea lacked creativity despite their early dominance.
“Chelsea, [as] what you’d expect from the European champions, they had the ball a lot. [But] they did not create anything,” the Dane told the club’s official YouTube channel.
“[Throughout] the game, we had five, six big chances. We [limited] Chelsea to just five shots. Five shots in the whole game — that’s very impressive.
“Unfortunately we could not score, and they have a world-class goalkeeper today.”
This is not the first time that Chelsea’s defending, or in this particular case, goalkeeping, bailed them out of a tricky situation.
Tuchel’s decision to use three midfielders helped them gain more control in midfield. Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s presence, in particular, played a big part, as Brentford’s Christian Norgaard even admitted how difficult it was to get the ball off him.
But at the same time, they also found it difficult to connect the ball to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner up front.
Throughout the game, only two Chelsea players managed to create a chance in the game; Lukaku and N’Golo Kante.
Later in the game, Tuchel tried to deploy Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, but at that point, the momentum was already on Brentford’s side. As a result, these two spent most of their time on the pitch defending inside their own half.
In terms of chances creation, Chelsea rank 10th in the Premier League so far this season (per Opta, via Whoscored). Tuchel’s men have averaged 9.5 chances created per game, significantly below Liverpool’s 15.5 (highest in the league).
That is clearly underwhelming given the attacking talents that Chelsea have at their disposal.
Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.