To enhance my 2016/17 Premier League projection I’m reviewing factors that may impact each team’s strength compared with last season, as explained here. Next up Chelsea.
In many ways Chelsea’s demise last season was as shocking as Leicester’s ascendancy. And it’s still difficult to explain, given the squad was little changed from the one that comfortably claimed the title. Looking at the numbers Chelsea performed as a mid-table team. Particularly worrying is the rate at which they conceded chances – only Everton. Norwich and Villa conceded more shots on target than Chelsea.
To illustrate the relative strengths of key players joining and leaving, the numbers below compare defensive, passing and attacking strength against the average premier league player in 2015/16 (0% means at the same level as the average premier league player, greater than 0% is better and less than 0% is worse). Defensive assessment is the sum of defensive actions (tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks). Passing is number of completed passes, and attacking strength is goals plus assists (all measured per match). This isn’t a robust statistical analysis, and can be skewed due to acquisition from a weaker league or lack of minutes played – but the purpose is to simply indicate the comparative strength of incoming and outgoing players.
Two key signings, and a load of fringe players exiting. The purchase of Kante looks perfect to curtail the number of shots on target conceded and Batshuayi will strengthen the strike-force.
No. Their first absence from European competition in many years. This will surely strengthen Chelsea’s Premier League form – enabling them to focus from the start of the season.
Yes. Antonio Conte’s new to the Premier League, but he demonstrated his tactical ability in Euro 2016.
Stronger. It’s tempting to assume that Chelsea must improve from last season’s performance and the absence of European football, key signings and the arrival of a new manager should (must?) improve things.