Chelsea’s Reece James, Kai Havertz impressive despite frustrating Burnley draw

Chelsea's Reece James Kai Havertz impressive despite frustrating Burnley draw

Premier League leaders Chelsea were made to pay for their missed opportunities on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

Kai Havertz’s glancing header in the first half was seemingly going to set the Blues on their way to a comprehensive victory. Instead, they took their foot off the gas and welcomed Burnley back into the game, with Matej Vydra bundling home a shock-late equalizer to put a dent in Chelsea’s title push.

Positives

From a statistical perspective, everything outside of the final score can be taken as an encouraging sign for Chelsea. Whenever they found themselves on the edge of the Burnley box, they were quick to use creativity and initiative that helped forge openings and chances on goal. In possession, they were obviously far superior, and it was the finishing that prevented this from being a much more commendable performance.

Negatives

The aerial duels and overall physicality of the fixture didn’t sit well with Chelsea at times, with the ball being pumped into the air and catching them out on more than one occasion. It’s all good that they have a selection of elite center-backs, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if they can’t work as a cohesive unit. They mistimed challenges, were uncertain when the ball was in flight, and looked more uncomfortable as the game went on.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Thomas Tuchel went for a strong, attacking line-up that allowed for no natural forwards in the starting XI. It was a move that led to utter domination for most of the afternoon, but from the moment he got them to relax and sit back, it started to go south. They opened their arms up to the pressure that came their way, and it goes without saying that Tuchel should’ve made some earlier changes.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Edouard Mendy, 7 — The man of the moment didn’t have a whole lot to do, and outside of a nervous back-pass, he played well; his defenders were to blame for the equalizer.

DF Andreas Christensen, 6 — Missed a golden header in the first few minutes of the game, went long spells without action, and then switched off momentarily for Burnley’s goal.

DF Thiago Silva, 6 — When tasked with standing up to opponents and winning the ball back through precision, he was great. When required to track back and cover runs, it wasn’t so pretty.

DF Antonio Rudiger, 6 — The always aggressive Rudiger was first to react in many instances, but he dropped a clanger with regards to Vydra’s run and finish.

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MF Reece James, 8 — The attacking threat of James is easily Chelsea’s best attribute right now. His defensive work is solid, but going forward, one assist didn’t do justice to how well he played.

MF N’Golo Kante, 8 — Creates space, opens up the pitch with ease and regularly strings passes together in the middle of the park — a classic Kante showing.

MF Jorginho, 7 — Carried the ball over the halfway line with ease, but he wasn’t always that consistent with his passing.

MF Ben Chilwell, 5 — A good word to describe Chilwell in this match would be “muted.” Unenthusiastic at the back, poor with his delivery, and lethargic whenever he got into the final third.

FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 7 — Found more room playing centrally after half-time, but his final ball and decision-making still need some work.

FW Kai Havertz, 8 — Starting to come into his own inside the box and showed that again with a beautiful header to open the scoring.

FW Ross Barkley, 7 — Had a wonderful chance to make it 2-0 but blazed it over the bar, which was unfortunate, as his overall play was key to Chelsea controlling the first half.

Substitutes

MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N/R — Had plenty of drive and determination but couldn’t turn that into any legitimate “moments” for Chelsea fans to get excited about.

MF Christian Pulisic, N/R — Barely got a sniff in a fairly unremarkable cameo for the American.

MF Mason Mount, N/R — Most notable contribution was having the ball get stuck under his feet in injury time.

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