Just 21 touches, a 33 per cent pass completion and no shots on goal; Romelu Lukaku’s statistics against Manchester City on Saturday made for grim reading.
Lukaku’s relative anonymity was symptomatic of the way Chelsea were stifled by Pep Guardiola’s tactical plan at Stamford Bridge, the £98 million ($136m) summer arrival a spectator for long periods in west London.
The 1-0 win for City offered Guardiola a small measure of revenge after losing out on three successive occasions to Thomas Tuchel last season – most famously in the Champions League final in May.
But for Tuchel, questions will be asked as to why the 3-5-2 formation that worked so well against Tottenham last week failed so spectacularly six days later.
Lukaku was partnered up front with Timo Werner from the start, Tuchel clearly looking to use his compatriot’s pace to stretch the City defence and create spaces for his new No.9 to thrive in.
But with three defensively-minded midfielders lined-up behind that pair, the home side struggled to find their way out and produce openings for their forward duo.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about Romelu’s struggle today,” Tuchel told reporters post-match.
“When we reached Romelu, the attack was already half-over as there was not enough people, not enough belief and connection.
“So this was a team problem, not an individual problem.”
Lukaku found himself boxed in between Rodri, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias, while Werner has some way to go if he is to strike up the same kind of relationship with the ex-Inter man as Lautaro Martinez did in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 system at San Siro.
But perhaps the biggest issue was the lack of a No.10 who would be able to link play between midfield and attack effectively.
Mason Mount sat the game out with a minor injury, and his influence was sorely missed, with the England international’s strengths lying in being able to contribute in defensive actions while creating and finishing chances in the final third.
With Mount out, there might have been an expectation that Kai Havertz would have started, but he was only introduced as a substitute for the final 30 minutes after Gabriel Jesus had broken the deadlock.
Hakim Ziyech, meanwhile, did not even make it off the bench, with Tuchel’s expensive attacking options not providing the desired displays right now.
“Timo is a good fit today because he brings a lot of intensity to our game on and off the ball,” he told BT Sport pre-match. “This is what we need.
“Maybe Kai and Hakim lack a little bit of form and lost confidence and that’s why we went for Timo, to have his speed and intensity against the ball.”
Chelsea have spent huge amounts on their attacking talent, and Lukaku cannot – as good as he is – be relied upon to do it all over the course of a whole season of fighting on five fronts.
Chemistry needs time to be built up, and Christian Pulisic’s return from injury will give Tuchel another option to choose from, but concerning patterns were emerging even before the City loss.
Not since the last international break have the Blues clicked in attack for a full 90 minutes, and have largely won games through dogged defending, changes from the bench and the odd goal from Lukaku.
But City have now shown that Lukaku can be stopped if his supply line is disrupted, and though Tuchel can – to an extent – fix that with some tactical tweaks, the other members of that attacking unit must step up.
That could be the difference between a title challenge, and a title win.