Ten matches down and 28 more to go and yet, Chelsea remain in the bottom half of the table while West Ham and Leicester sit in the top five. Crystal Palace are even within touching distance of a European place while three perennial Premier League team are stranded in the relegation zone with a win apiece.
There are plenty of questions about this 2015-16 Premier League table, but perhaps the biggest question is whether or not Chelsea can turn around their season. At the moment the reigning Premier League champions are mired in 15th place with a 3-2-5 record. This is already two more losses than they had all of last season.
In breaking down the statistics there isn’t a whole lot of changes from last season, but all of it together shows that this Chelsea team is not the same team they were last season. I had hoped that there would be some glaring statistic that would stand out, but there isn’t. It’s just a cumulative regression.
Last season they averaged 5.5 shots on target per game which was the third best in the Premier League while this year they are 11th with 4.2 per game. Last season 7% of their shots were in the 6 yard box, with 52% in the 18 yard box, and 41% outside of the box. This season they have 52% in the 18 yard box, 45% outside of the box, and only 3% from within the 6 yard box.
I know that these last stats don’t give a clear picture, after all West Brom have the most shots in the 6 yard box with 14%, but the fact that their shots per game is nearly the same at 14.8 per game last season (3rd highest) and 14.3 this season (8th best) while the shots on target is down shows that something isn’t quite right.
In 2014-15 Chelsea was second in goals scored per game with 1.9 per game. Now they have scored 1.2 goals per game, but this is only good enough to be the 11th best team and they are level with the likes of Newcastle, Crystal Palace, and Bournemouth.
Another area of regression is in their assists per game. Last season they were second in the league behind Man City with 1.5 assists per game while this year they are down to 10th with 0.8. This is also just 0.2 more than the bottom two teams of Watford and Stoke. Perhaps this has much to do with Cesc Fabregas and his loss of form. Last season he led the league in assists with 18 and an average of 0.5 per game. This year he’s managed just the one assist at 0.1 per game.
Fabregas has played in all ten matches to start the season and his key passes are also down from an average of 2.8 per game down to 1.9 per game, but even this doesn’t fully explain the dramatic drop-off for Chelsea this season.
It is interesting to see that they are being fouled at a rate of 13.1 times per game (2nd highest behind Swansea) which is significantly higher than last season when they were fouled 11.4 times per game.
Chelsea are also allowing more shots per game up from 10.9 to 13.2. In addition they are committing more fouls per game, which is creating more chances for the opposition. In 2014-15 they gave up the second fewest fouls per game at 10.1 while this season they have committed the third most at 13.6 per game.
The decline for Chelsea has certainly been a dramatic one and looking at the statistics gives some hints. The causes for this decline are hard to pinpoint, but the turmoil surrounding the club, and their manager, Jose Mourinho, in particular have certainly not helped anyone.
Whatever the true reasons for their demise this season, they are a team that have struggled to play well and look likely to continue that trend. Can Chelsea turn their season around? It is an excellent question and one that doesn’t look like having an answer any time soon. They need to start winning games and with the way these players are looking recently, it doesn’t seem likely that they will finish in the top half of the table, let alone in the top four.
This weekend Chelsea take on Liverpool in what will certainly be the match of the weekend with the most narrative. After all, Jurgen Klopp is the new star of the media while Mourinho looks more and more like the villain.
Here are the week 11 Premier League predictions:
|Saturday, October 31|
|8:45ET/12:45BT||Chelsea||1||v||2||Liverpool||1 – 3|
|11:00ET/15:00BT||Crystal Palace||0||v||2||Manchester United||0-0|
|11:00ET/15:00BT||Man City||3||v||1||Norwich City|| 2 – 1
|11:00ET/15:00BT||Newcastle United||1||v||1||Stoke City|| 0 – 0
|11:00ET/15:00BT||Swansea City||1||v||3||Arsenal|| 0 – 3
|11:00ET/15:00BT||Watford||1||v||2||West Ham United||2-0|
|11:00ET/15:00BT||West Brom||2||v||3||Leicester City|| 2 – 3
|Sunday, November 1|
|8:30ET/13:30BT||Everton||3||v||0||Sunderland|| 6 – 2
|11:00ET/16:00BT||Southampton||3||v||1||Bournemouth|| 2 – 0
|Monday, November 2|
|15:00ET/20:00BT||Tottenham Hotspur||3||v||0||Aston Villa|| 3 – 1
The weekend should have plenty of goals in it and keep the top of the table tight for another week. I’m predicting wins for all of the top six teams, meaning there won’t be any changes there.
Sunderland, Newcastle United, and Aston Villa will continue to struggle along with Chelsea, Norwich, and Bournemouth with no expected changes at the bottom of the table either.
Let me know your thoughts on this weekend’s set of matches. Leave your comments below or hit me up on twitter.