Is Chelsea’s Slow Start to the Season as a Result of Being Bullied?

Five games into the season and where is it all going wrong for Chelsea? Is it connected to their late start to pre-season training? Or perhaps the players lack the hunger after their success of last season? Certain Chelsea players who were outstanding last season are clearly underperforming at this stage of the season.

Sportsmatrix has examined Chelsea’s opening five games of the 2014-15 season and compared them to the opening five games of this season and the differences are startling. One statistic which Jose Mourinho might be keen to highlight is that Chelsea have suffered more fouls (14.2 per game) than any other team in the Premier League, compared to 12.6 per game last season, whilst themselves committing 12.2 fouls per game.

chelsea comparison

Mourinho will naturally be more concerned with some of the other data. Chelsea have been forced to carry out 9% more defensive actions, with the percentage of bad actions increasing from 13.2% to over 16% and with over 14% of defensive actions in dangerous situations performed badly, compared with 1.6% bad actions defending in dangerous situations in the corresponding games last season.

The best form of defence is attack, in Chelsea’s case the attacking side of their game has declined dramatically. Last season they averaged close to 17 shots per game with 46.4% on-target; this season they are averaging 15.8 shots per game, with a third on-target. Last season they reached 10 shots per game from medium and close range, converting 28.0% of these shots into goals. This season they’ve averaged 8.8 shots per game from medium and close range, with only 6.8% of these shots converted into goals.

In his opening five games of last season Diego Costa had 19 shots on goal, 11 on target, eight of which were rated as being dangerous. This season he has nine shots, four rated as being dangerous and three on-target. In addition Diego Costa created 1.8 chances per game last season, whilst season he has averaged only 0.2 chances per game.

Last season Cesc Fabregas created 1.7 chances per game, this season he has created 0.6 chances per game. Eden Hazard created 1.9 chances per game, with 75% of his dribbles being successful, this season he is creating slightly more chances (3.0); however only 40% of his dribbles have been successful.

This short statistical overview of Chelsea’s start to the season suggests that Chelsea have been victims to a far more physical approach by their opponents in attack, combined with a dramatic deterioration in the performance of the entire defensive unit.

Is it any surprise that Jose Mourinho is so unhappy at the team’s start to the season?

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