The goals for/against graphs show quite a lot of volatility (i.e. inconsistency) throughout the season, as Chelsea flirted with the notion of being title contenders alongside alarming drops in scoring and increases in conceded goals. The goal difference line hits a low on game 15 – tying in to my earlier note about their drop in form around games 8-16.
Chelsea had a much better return against the top 5 than Arsenal, expecting at least a draw from each of their games against similarly matched opposition. However, their record against the lowest-placed teams left room for improvement as they only took 1pt from QPR.
These charts perhaps show Benitez’ penchant for rotating his team, as the most significant group is the 2400-2800mins players – whose time was managed around late-stage appearances in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League. This group included Mata, Hazard, Ramires, Cole, Luiz and Torres. Ivanovic and Cech were the only players who played more than 2800mins in the league. Another striking illustration is the 2nd chart showing mean performance scores of each group, which is good even for those players who only played 800-1200mins – this indicates the depth of quality in Chelsea’s squad (in this group were Ba and Terry who each had the equivalent of about 10 games playing time each).
- Second highest goals scored with 71
- Third highest number of passes attempted in the final third (6235)
- More goalkeeper saves than any other team in the top 7 (127)
Many pundits picked out Juan Mata as Chelsea’s player of the season, and the evidence from TPOEM provides some weight to this claim – although there was little to choose between Mata, Lampard and Hazard. Hazard took an impressive 14 team man of the match awards, of which 10 were outright man of the match performances. This influence on Chelsea’s performances was only bettered by Cazorla and Bale’s monopolies on Arsenal and Spurs match awards respectively.
In defence, Cahill showed signs that he is able to fill the shoes of Terry, but Terry and Luiz’s stats were still superior to both his and Ivanovic’s per minute played. Azpilicueta successfully adapted to life in the Premier League with some assured performances and Ba provided a superior average contribution to Torres without quite reaching the levels he performed to earlier in the season with Newcastle.