In the second instalment of our new feature examining the important numbers from the weekend’s game, we see a different role for our young creative Belgian.
Eden Hazard scored his first Chelsea goal from the penalty spot against Newcastle, but it was outside the box that the 21-year-old did some of his most important work…
Hazard completed only two successful dribbles at the weekend, three less than against Wigan last week, and four less than Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa, who impressed his manager Alan Pardew with a strong performance.
Instead Hazard showed variety in his play, and was impressive in passing combinations, and he and Fernando Torres linked up successfully on11 occasions, including for the Spaniard’s goal.
Hazard actually found a team-mate 21 times from 25 attempts in the final third.
Torres scored with his only attempted shot.
The centre-forward’s link-up play was noted by Di Matteo after the game, and Petr Cech found him on eight occasions with long balls into the Newcastle half.
Cech was busy with the ball at his feet, Chelsea making 20 backpasses compared to Newcastle’s seven. This shows we were in no rush, comfy and content with a two-goal lead and happy to keep possession while in control of a game that was our third in six days.
Branislav Ivanovic to Juan Mata was our most frequent pass, completed 12 times. This highlights Mata’s constant ability to make himself available for passes, and his tendency to play on the right-hand side of the pitch more than usual when combined with Hazard and Bertrand in midfield.
John Mikel Obi completed 60 of 63 passes he attempted, a 95 per cent success rate. The defensive midfielder also made five successful clearances.