Frank Leboeuf praised Chelsea’s first-half performance in 2-0 win over Newcastle United, but said two Blues players went ‘missing’ after the break.
It is safe to say that it was a comfortable first-half for the Blues, on both ends of the pitch.
To put it into perspective, Chelsea attempted 12 shots (four on target) in the first 45 minutes compared to Newcastle’s two (none on target).
While Chelsea kept dominating the possession after half-time, the visitors looked the more threatening side.
In the second half, Steve Bruce’s men attempted eight shots (four on target), while Chelsea had just six shots (two on target).
Leboeuf said he is disappointed with Mason Mount and Timo Werner’s drop in intensity after dominating first-half performances.
“I like what I saw in the first half when Chelsea really dominated, created chances, and scored two goals,” the former Blues centre-back told ESPN FC.
“But in the second half, I wondered what they were doing.
“We lost Mount, we lost Werner — they were quite invisible [in the second half].”
Leboeuf was very positiveChelsea’s defensive performance overall but was not convinced about their threats on the other end of the pitch.
“I’m very comfortable with the defensive aspect of the Chelsea game, but I’m still wondering sometimes what they do offensively.
“The last passes are sometimes too slow and soft, they don’t make the right decisions.
“But it’s not due to Tuchel, it’s maybe due to the players’ not being confident enough.”
“They [have been doing] what they have to do well, but they [have yet] to convince me that they’re back.”
It might sound harsh to criticise these two, particularly Werner, but Leboeuf had a point about Chelsea’s allowing Newcastle to put pressure after the break.
It could have been a different story if the visitors were not as wasteful.
On a positive note, Chelsea’s solid defensive line has shown that it can be dependable when things are not going so well up front.
And this solid defensive foundation has helped propel Chelsea back into the top four spots.