With 20 Premier League games played so far in the 2011/12 season, Chelsea sit in fourth position on 37 points; 11 behind leaders Manchester City.
In Andre Villas-Boas’ debut season in England, the 3 home defeats in 10 home games are of concern. Arsenal, Liverpool and most-recently, Aston Villa have all come away from the Bridge with maximum points. Wolves are the only side to have failed to score on their travels to Chelsea in the league this season.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Blues however, with a number of bright sparks this season.
22-year old Daniel Sturridge leads the club goalscoring chart with 9 goals; scoring against goalkeepers including Tim Howard, Pepe Reina and Brad Friedel.
Here is how Sturridge compares to the experienced Didier Drogba and £50 million signing Fernando Torres:
|Daniel Sturridge||Didier Drogba||Fernando Torres|
|Mins per Goal||124||318||380|
|Shots on Target||20||11||8|
|Shots off Target||22||23||13|
|Mins per Shot on Target||56||87||95|
|Total Chances Created||17||14||12|
|Mins per Chances Created||66||68||63|
|Ground 50-50’s Win %||41%||43%||36%|
|Mins per Ground 50-50||10.14||7.52||5.21|
|Aerial 50-50’s Win %||0%||53%||36%|
|Loss of Possession||34||29||20|
|Mins per Loss of Possession||33||33||38|
|Open Play Passes||351||252||265|
|Accurate Open Play Passes||289||161||199|
|Open Play Passes Completion %||82%||64%||75%|
|Successful Dribbles per Game||1.2||0.6||1.33|
Daniel Sturridge, who has started more games and played more minutes than both Drogba and Torres has matched this with a higher chance conversion (21%) and shooting accuracy (48%). Notably, Sturridge has shown improvement on his right foot in recent weeks; the foot he seemingly refused to use until 6 weeks ago.
Playing on the right wing, Sturridge, the 6’2” forward has been involved in a lack of aerial battles (3) this season, and won none of them. An improvement of his crossing accuracy (14%) is something Sturridge should look work on over the coming years if he is to continue playing out wide.
Ramires has continued off where he finished last season as one of the best players in the Chelsea midfield. The Brazilian adds energy to the Chelsea team, and has 4 goals to his name already.
Spanish summer signing Juan Mata has also netted 4 times in his first season at the club, and leads the team with 7 assists. The ex-Valencia midfielder has shown off his playmaking ability.
In his eleventh season with Chelsea, Frank Lampard has hit the net 8 times already this season and assisted another 4 despite spending time on the bench. Lampard played 90 minutes just once in the Blues’ final seven Premier League games of 2011, but his stats are still very impressive:
|Pass Completion %||79.66%||84.84%|
|Open Play Passes||1,282||941|
|Accurate Open Play Passes||1,055||816|
|Open Play Pass Completion %||82%||87%|
|Passes per Minute||0.67||0.75|
|Successful Dribbles per Game||0.33||0.17|
|Goal Assist Set Play||2||2|
|Goal Assist Open Play||0||2|
|Chances Created Open Play (excl. Assists)||32||22|
|Chances Created Set Play (excl. Assists)||18||8|
|Total Chances Created (incl. Assists)||52||34|
|Minutes per Chances Created (incl. Assists)||39||39|
|Mins per Goal||203||165|
|Shots on Target||31||15|
|Shots off Target||24||8|
|Mins per Shot||37||57|
|Mins per Shot on Target||65||88|
|Ground 50-50’s Win %||52%||59%|
|Mins per Ground 50-50’s||13.97||14.98|
|Aerial 50-50’s Win %||30%||71%|
|Tackle Success %||71.70%||79.41%|
|Mins per Tackle||38||39|
|Loss of Possession||13||13|
|Mins per Loss of Possession||156||101|
Frank Lampard has a better tackle success rate than he did last season in the centre of midfield, as well as a 5% pass completion improvement from open play. The England international has had fewer shots this season, but both his accuracy (65%) and chance conversion (35%) are significantly up from last year.
A hat trick versus Bolton in October may be the highlight of Frank Lampard’s season, but his other significant contributions this season include the winners at Blackburn, Manchester City and at Wolves earlier this month.
The Chelsea defence has certainly fallen apart from the days of Jose Mourinho. The Blues have kept just 4 clean sheets during the first 20 games of the season, conceding 25 in that time. 7 teams, including newly-promoted Swansea City, and Sunderland whom have used 2 goalkeepers whilst they wait for Craig Gordon to return.
|Goals Conceded per Game||0.87||1.28|
|Minutes per Save||68.4||81|
|High Cross Catches||75||28|
|Ground 50-50’s Win %||92%||70%|
|Aerial 50-50’s Win %||100%||75%|
Petr Cech kept 15 clean sheets last season. He needs 11 from Chelsea’s final 18 games this season to match that. His goals conceded per game average has shot up from 0.87 in 2010/11 to 1.28 since the arrival of Villas-Boas.
The Portuguese manager’s high defensive line has come under some scrutiny this season. As as David Luiz’s defensive ability in general. The ex-Benfica centre back has been limited to just 8 starts this season; through injury and selection.
John Terry too has come under the spotlight this season, but the England captain continues to stack up tackle-after-tackle and interception-after-interception game-after-game as ever. The Chelsea skipper has already notched up 4 league goals this season; as many as he scored in the Premier League-winning 2005/06 season and more than any other season in his career.
Chelsea are in talks with Gary Cahill over a potential January move for the Bolton captain. Whether the club see him as a long-term replacement for Terry or an immediate partner, I guess we’ll find out if the transfer goes through.
The Bolton centre back, noted for his poor marking in the penalty area ranks well statistically; making more interceptions (43) than John Terry himself to this point. Cahill has been involved in a significantly higher number of aerial duels than both Terry and Luiz combined this season, and the Trotters’ main defender has prevented less players from dribbling past him than the England captain in 2011/12.
Here’s how all three compare:
|John Terry||David Luiz||Gary Cahill|
|Goals Conceded per Game||1.25||1.13||2|
|Ground 50-50’s Win %||68%||55%||56%|
|Mins per Ground 50-50||13.24||10.91||10.05|
|Aerial 50-50’s Win %||76%||50%||61%|
|Mins per Aerial 50-50||36.73||51.43||15.90|
|Tackle Success %||67.50%||75.00%||71.43%|
|Loss of Possession||7||9||7|
|Open Play Passes||1,166||420||587|
|Accurate Open Play Passes||1,068||364||437|
|Open Play Passes Completion %||92%||87%||74%|
|Mins per Goal||450||n/a||819|
|Shots on Target||6||2||7|
|Shots off Target||7||1||6|
Data provided by Opta Sports.