Chelsea and Arsenal nullified each other at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a match that promised much but ultimately delivered little.
Although the visiting side were without Mesut Ozil and controversially started without Alexis Sanchez in their XI, they produced a performance that meant they were well worth their point away to the champions and their great rivals.
There was nothing between the sides on the field, and that was demonstrated by the statistics, too, with both teams boasting virtually identical numbers in all categories.
Antonio Conte’s side edged possession, but only by a couple of percentage marks, while total passes were very tight. Chelsea’s slight edge in possession was reflected by their marginal dominance in this regard, but their 533 passes to Arsenal’s 518 was minimal. The Gunners did have a slight advantage in terms of both pass accuracy and tackle success, but it was only 1% in each of those cases.
The only area where the visiting side were overwhelmed was the corner count, but though Chelsea had five such situations to try to benefit compared to Arsenal’s one, this made no difference to their attacking potency over the course of the match.
In terms of the approach of both teams, they adopted similar tactics. Both teams were deployed in 3-4-3 systems and they sought primarily to go down the flanks, though Arsenal’s desire to do this was more pronounced than that of their opponents.
Over 40% of their attacks were channelled down the left wing of Sead Kolasinac and Danny Welbeck, with Arsene Wenger’s men presumably feeling that Victor Moses was something of a weak link defensively. Even down the other flank against Marcos Alonso they threatened to get some change, not even going through the middle a quarter of the time.
These areas were the major battlegrounds in this match, with Chelsea directing 39% of their attacks down their right flank. They were, however, rather more willing than their opponents to go through the middle, with 32% of their forays coming from there.
A draw certainly suited embattled Arsenal more than their opponents, as was evidenced by the outcome of the game. There is also a feeling that Wenger got the better of Conte in the tactical battle, though the statistics would suggest that this match was an absolute dead heat and deserved to finish with the points being split.