Why Liverpool loss will help Chelsea win league
It might seem strange, given that SundayÃ¢ÂÂs defeat left them three points behind Liverpool with a quarter of the season played, but we reckon that Chelsea finally relinquishing their unbeaten home record might be a good thing for Luiz Felipe ScolarirÃ¢ÂÂs side.
As much as weÃ¢ÂÂd like to claim the credit for this theory, weÃ¢ÂÂve had a bit of help, from what might seem like an unlikely source: men in suits. Devised by a group of business consultants with the aim of providing an effective measure of performance and assessing patterns of results in order to help identify each Premier League teamÃ¢ÂÂs strengths and weaknesses Ã¢ÂÂ The Catalyst Power Table, they call it.
And it's rather interesting, which is why we've written a feature about it in the next issue of the magazine (out on Bonfire Night, since you ask).
Anyway, this here Power Table throws up some valuable insights, and we'll bring the best of them to you as it occurs to us. Like with Chelsea's timely defeat. Y'see, the Power Table goal-time chart (below) shows that last season, Chelsea scored just 10 goals after the 75th minute.
For comparison, title winners Manchester United bagged 23 "late" goals, Arsenal notched 25 and Liverpool 18.
When the 'Big Four' sides scored their goals last season
Why? Could it be that, with their longstanding unbeaten record hanging heavier than Mr TÃ¢ÂÂs bling, Chelsea have actually been subconsciously settling for draws in home matches they would otherwise go hell-for-eather to win?
Last season Chelsea drew at home seven times, including matches theyÃ¢ÂÂd have certainly expected to have won with relative ease Ã¢ÂÂ like Fulham, Wigan and Bolton. And already this season theyÃ¢ÂÂve drawn with Spurs (who were sat on zero points going into the game) after a goalless second half.
Now, the Blues won their other 12 home league matches last term, leaving them with a total of 43 points from their matches at Stamford Bridge. But despite the much-trumpeted unbeaten run, they had a worse home record than champions United.
Sir AlexÃ¢ÂÂs side succumbed 2-1 at home to Manchester City, but they also only drew the once Ã¢ÂÂ with Reading on the opening day. This gave them a total of 52 points from their home matches Ã¢ÂÂ nine more than Chelsea managed.
"I pity the fool who draws at home to Spurs"
It was a similar story in 2006/07, when Chelsea drew seven times at home; earning 43 points from their home games, while United lost twice at home but still picked up five more points than Chelsea, thanks to only being held to two home draws.
Next up at Stamford Bridge are Sunderland, who to date have conceded just 10 goals in the league this season and have the ability to frustrate the top sides, as proven by their recent draw with Arsenal.
This could well have been one of those closely-fought matches that Chelsea would previously settled for a solitary point from. Perhaps now, without the fear of losing their unbeaten home record, theyÃ¢ÂÂll be more willing to go for broke in the dying stages Ã¢ÂÂ and, with Scolari's tactical flexibility and attacking ÃÂ©lan, turn one point into three.
Read more about the Catalyst Power Table in the December issue of FourFourTwo, out November 5.