By Daniel Rhodes.
At this stage of the season, I would like to offer congratulations to the champions-elect Chelsea. Not only have you clinched the title (95% according to this), you have absolutely ruined what could have been the greatest title race in history. Potentially six (although Arsenal have dropped off badly) sides all vying for the trophy.
Never before, in my memory at least and certainly in the Premier League era, has there been six legitimate contenders for the championship. Each side has their own styles, and tactical approaches in varying contexts, but is this current Chelsea side – managed by Antonio Conte – the best since 2011? The cut off point is based purely on the data available.
Many will argue about the ‘legitimate contenders’ tag, with the Blues currently ten points clear of second place and 19 points ahead of Arsenal in sixth. And to an extent they would be right, with the title race being more like a procession for what feels like months now. However, do Chelsea’s underlying numbers tell us anything about the style and methods they’re using to be so successful? Furthermore, how do they compare to other sides in the past six seasons?
This idea only popped into my head after collecting all the data for another series of articles, and noticing ‘Chelsea – 2016-17 – Home’ over and over again in the top 2% of metrics.
Without delving any further, but based on using Opta’s stats for years now, and reading various other amazing bits of analysis, added to the fact I’m a biased Liverpool fan, the best team in my opinion has been Man City’s 2013/14 vintage. The bastards. The other two sides that came into the reckoning were Ferguson’s final Manchester United team and the “Aguerooooooo” Citizens’ side from 2011/12.
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