Saturday, 13 September 2014

Chelsea - Swansea Stats Preview

There would always be plenty of excitement when it comes to playing your fellow table-topping team, but with the publicity around the Jack To A King film and Garry Monk awarded Premier League Manager of the month (and finding fame in Italy as one of the 'New Wizards' of European football  - article from Gazetta here)

All this, along with the extra week of waiting due to internationals has meant the anticipation for this game has mushroomed.

League wise, Stamford Bridge hasn't been a great place to visit in the Premier League era (P3 L3), but the Capital One Cup Semi First Leg was one of the highlights of recent years, where the usually excellent Ivanovic had a bit of a shocker.
Danny Graham with the second goal in the Semi (photo from Nicky Hayes Photography)
As someone who writes a football stats blog, I'm well aware of the concept of luck impacting on the result of any given match but also that stats can sometimes be misleading.  Swansea have scored 6 goals from 30 shots but conceded only 1 from 42 faced.

Although we were maybe a bit fortunate to survive the second half against Burnley unscathed and if Rooney's free-kick at 1-1 had gone in instead of hit the post things could be different, but overall I'd argue Swansea were the better team in each game (Man Utd might have dominated the shot count 14-5 but created relatively little).

I'd argue that the chances Swansea have had have been of a higher quality, largely down to Gylfi's assists, with Ki's calmly taken finish at Old Trafford with no defensive pressure (thanks to Bony's block on Jones) along with Dyer's 3 goals all of which have been 1v1s.
Swansea's shots in the league so far: 3 Dyer goals on the right hand side
Of the 42 shots Swansea have conceded, only 8 have been on target, Fabianski's made some good saves and generally commanded his box well but overall hasn't been tested too much which is credit to the side as a whole but Williams and Amat in particular.  It may be that at some stage it's Fernandez who comes in as well to make a 3 to enable both Bony and Gomis to play in a 3-5-2 but that's something for the future, as things stand it'll be either Amat (who it'd be harsh to drop even it it was the right decision) or Fernandez and up front either Bony (who has played well but has the leagues highest total for shots without a goal - 10) or Gomis.

As Gomis is fresh compared to an international weary Bony who will have barely trained with the club over the last 2 weeks, it may be Gomis who starts with Bony coming on to wreak some havoc in the last 30 minutes.
Hopefully we'll see more of Bony in command on Saturday
Chelsea, with 10 goals (+1 o.g.,) from their 50 shots have the same shot conversion rate (20%) as Swansea but on significantly more shots:
Chelsea's shot chart in the league in 2014/15
Much has obviously be made about Chelsea's lack of a finisher in recent years and how Costa will make the difference and that's certainly happened so far with Costa being named player of the month after scoring 4 goals in 3 games (from just 9 shots).
Costa has almost already matched Torres' league stats from last year where he scored 5 goals from 61 shots.
When you look at Chelsea's league goal map from last season you can see plenty of goals from deep within the 6 yard box and also loads from the edge of the area (largely due to Hazard's 14 league goals) but relatively little from around the penalty spot.  How much of Costa's activity will be incremental as opposed to reducing the return from Hazard/Oscar will determine where Chelsea finish this season but it would be a surprise if they don't end up in the top 2.
Chelsea with a far higher number of goals from the edge of the box compared with other top teams
As I wrote back on the eve of the season opener with Man Utd, Monk (and Huw Jenkins) have a different approach to the big games, where Laudrup was maybe more pragmatic and looked to keep things tight, Monk seems to have a more optimistic view.

I think it'd be wrong to consider matches like this as 'David v Goliath' as although financially Chelsea dwarf Swansea, it's not like they're a group of accountants and bus drivers, most are regular internationals for their country with a number having been bought from £5m+, the margins at this level are small and with a fair wind anything is possible.

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
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Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka