The result of Saturday’s competitive London derby was in the balance until the very end, though as the stats suggest, it might have been a more comfortable outcome.
We enjoyed a 69.7% share of the possession, the most of any of our games in the Barclays Premier League this season. The next highest was against Aston Villa in August, a game which also ended 2-1.
Despite having the ball for the majority of the game, that only translated to a territorial advantage of 52.9%, suggesting much of the game played out in what was a tightly-fought middle third of the pitch.
We passed the ball 606 times in total on Saturday, with a completion rate of 87%. Over 35% of those passes were in the attacking third of the pitch, and over the course of the 90 minutes, we made 354 more passes than our opponents.
Half of our 16 shots on the Palace goal came from outside the box, including Willian’s effort – turned onto the post by Julian Speroni and then turned in by Fernando Torres – for our first goal of the afternoon, and also Ramires’s stunning winner later in the first half.
Palace, meanwhile, had 10 attempts on our goal, with five of those on target. Our three previous Premier League games had seen us concede seven goals from the seven shots that our opponents had managed on target in that time.
Michael Essien was the game’s standout performer, statistically. He completed 83 of his 89 passes – comfortable the highest on the pitch – and also succeeded in five of his seven take-ons, again the most on the pitch. The Ghanaian also contributed defensively, making 12 ball recoveries, a game-high figure, though Cesar Azpilicueta was not far behind, the Spaniard making 11.
Eden Hazard created six chances, more than anyone else, with all six passes going backwards, including to Willian and Ramires, whose shots led to both of our goals. Jason Puncheon was the Eagles’ most creative player, laying on four chances for his team-mates, three of which were from set-pieces.
The victory was our seventh home victory in eight league games this season, and means we have now picked up 44 points from the last 48 on offer at Stamford Bridge.