Premier League Logo
Talking Tactics

Midfield pair can revive Chelsea's creative spark

Adrian Clarke 10 Nov 2022

Adrian Clarke says for Graham Potter's team to succeed at Newcastle the head coach will likely rely on Sterling and Mount

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 16.


As an attacking force, Chelsea need to make dramatic improvements if they are to overhaul Newcastle United in the race for a top-four finish.

TV Info

Graham Potter’s side has stuttered in recent weeks, failing to win in their last four Premier League matches and scoring just twice across those contests.

Last time out, in a 1-0 home defeat to leaders Arsenal, they mustered their lowest Expected Goals (xG) total of the campaign by some distance, registering 0.29xG from a total of just five efforts.

Finding a way for his star-studded attack to click will be top priority for Potter ahead of Saturday's pivotal match at St James’ Park.

Creative Sterling

Summer signing Raheem Sterling has been Chelsea’s chief creative presence this season, with three goals and one assist in 12 appearances.

Making 18 key passes, the 27-year-old has been their brightest performer. He has also enjoyed this fixture as a Manchester City player, scoring five goals and assisting another in his last six Premier League matches against Newcastle. Overall, Sterling has scored eight times overall versus Newcastle in top-flight meetings.

The other likely source of creativity is for Potter is Mason Mount, who has made 12 key passes, but as the table below demonstrates, Potter does not have the same depth as Newcastle when it comes to creativity in the final third.

Chelsea and Newcastle's top creators
2022/23 Chances created open play
Sterling (CHE) 18
Guimaraes (NEW) 16
Willock (NEW) 15
Joelinton (NEW) 13
Longstaff (NEW) 12
Trippier (NEW) 12
Mount (CHE) 12

Five of Eddie Howe's squad feature prominently on this list of chances created in open play and all of them come from non-forward players.

Newcastle's midfield is clearly outperforming Chelsea’s when it comes to hurting the opposition with final-third productivity.

Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff have all created plenty.

Chelsea and Newcastle stats
2022/23 Chelsea Newcastle
Matches 13 14
Shots 151 208
Shots in box 104 149
Goals 17 28
Open-play goals 12 20

Chelsea have struggled for fluency, drive and panache inside the opposition half this season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has tried to fill the centre-forward position, but Chelsea have been unable to get the best from him so far.

Indeed, since records began in 1997/98, this is proving Chelsea’s poorest campaign for shots on goal, averaging 11.8 per match.

Their total of 151 shots is 15th best in the division, compared with Newcastle, who sit joint-third with Arsenal on 208.

Transitional times

Chelsea’s inconsistencies highlight how much of a transitional season this is proving for them.

Potter has consistently shuffled the pack, rotating his starting XI regularly, as he gets to understand which players best fit his style of football.

Ahead of the test at Newcastle, the structure and effectiveness of Chelsea’s side feels like it is behind the hosts.

A year on from his arrival, Howe has built a team that look ready to launch a serious challenge on the top six, or even top four, while Potter will hope he can quickly make his own impression at Stamford Bridge.

Also in this series

Part 1: How Villa have embraced Emery's style of play
Part 2: Grealish graft can help unsettle Brentford
Part 4: How Casemiro brought steel to Man Utd midfield

Latest News

More News: Latest News

Latest Videos

More Videos: Latest Videos