It has been our best start to a season for over a decade to say the least. The first eighteen matches of the campaign compares even better to the record-breaking 2004-05 season! We have so far progressed to the semis of the Capital One Cup, qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, well placed in the Premier League and looking like a good bet for the FA Cup (even though we are yet to play a game).
The possibility of a quadruple looks very likely given that it has been Chelsea’s best start to a season ever. with 14 wins, 4 draws and just one loss out of 19 Premier League matches, we boast a first nineteen matches better than the 2004-05 season when we had the same stat as we have now. The Champions League campaign compares even better with 4 wins from 6 and just 2 draws in the group stage, scoring an impressive 17 goals in the process. Things are looking to get only better when one considers the firepower we have at our disposal; Hazard, Costa, Oscar, Fabregas, Willian, Matic, the list is inexhaustible. Furthermore, each player don’t seem to show any signs of fatigue either.
During the summer, mourinho with his expertise, made a number of changes to the squad. Thibaut Courtois was recalled from his 3-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid, and has been considered worthy enough to keep the legendary Petr Cech out of the starting eleven this season. The acquisitions of spanish duo Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have been very rewarding for Chelsea this season. The £57m duo has collectively scored 15 of our 41 goals so far and has provided 14 assists this season.
The return of club legend Didier Drogba has been pivotal as well, enabling Jose to rotate the squad when it comes to Cup ties. So was the acquisition of Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid and Loic Remy from QPR. Arguably the best bit of transfer business ever done by Chelsea! So here is a statistical consideration on players whom we think have had the greatest impact on our season so far amidst our star-studded squad.
EDEN HAZARD, 23 yrs, LW/ AM
Upon joining Chelsea from Lille in the summer of 2012, Eden Hazard has continued to grow as a player and looks much more matured and composed this season than ever. The goals may not be flowing as freely as compared to other players of his level, but in reality, Chelsea is a team where pretty much everyone and anyone can score. With the introduction of goal machine Diego Costa and the versatility of the team in terms of goal scoring prowess (Defenders-12.5%, Midfielders-40%, Strikers-45%), with 13 different goal scorers in the league. With 10 goals already in all competitions, Eden Hazard is surely on course to becoming one of the world’s best. The Belgian winger is our highest goal scorer in Europe so far with 2 goals. His overall tally of 10 goals this term will surely see him surpass his 17 goals last season.
Eden Hazard has featured in all our league games this season, scoring 7 goals and creating a total of 49 chances of which 4 have resulted in assists, completing a league-high 89 dribbles, 29 more than any other player in the league. He has completed a total of 897 passes with a pass accuracy of 89%, 59% of these passes have been forward passes. Hazard has had a shot accuracy of 59%. His maturity in the game is evidenced by his improvement in defensive responsibilities; tracking back to help the defense when not in possession. He averages 1 defensive action per game and has made no defensive errors. He has also won 61% of his aerial duels so far, an impressive figure for a short player.
CESC FABREGAS, 27 yrs, DMF/CM/CAM
The versatility of Cesc Fabregas has been evidenced in his occupying several positions this season; holding the pivot alongside Matic or Mikel, being used as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation and playing behind the striker as a classic “No. 10”. The Spaniard brings stability and finesse to the midfield and always has an eye for a defense-splitting pass. Upon his £25 mil purchase in June, Fabregas has turned out to be an instant hit, establishing a good understanding with fellow partner in crime – Matic. Matic holds the line very well giving the former Barcelona man, license to roam about the pitch with much freedom and dictate the play. He has had total control of the midfield in almost every Chelsea game he has been involved in. His overall tally of four goals this term, 2 apiece in the Champions League and the Premiership is a very good one given his defensive responsibilities.
Fabregas has made 18 appearances in the league, scoring twice and creating 60 chances, 13 of which resulted in assists. He has formed a good partnership with fellow Spaniard Diego Costa, providing six assists for his 13 goals in the league. Fabregas has completed an incredible 1320 passes with a pass accuracy of 88% of which 78% were forward passes. In fact, no player in the league has completed more passes in the opponents half than Fabregas. He is not lacking in his defensive responsibilities too with an average of 2 defensive actions per game. He has won 45% aerial duels and has made no defensive errors yet in the league.
DIEGO COSTA, 26yrs, CF/ST
Simply referred to as the beast, Diego Costa has been phenomenal since his £32m transfer from Atletico Madrid. The Brazil-born striker has registered a mouth-watering 13 goals in just 17 matches just one behind Man City striker Sergio Aguero. Costa is praised not only for his goals, but also his presence in the penalty box. The Spaniard keeps opponent defenders on their toes while creating space upfront for Hazard, Willian and Co. to exploit. He has just one assist but has created 29 scoring chances, a large number for someone who scores as often as he does.
With a shot accuracy of 70%, a pass accuracy of 79% and 38% aerial duels won with an average 2 defensive actions per match, Diego Costa is simply sensational! However, Costa has not been able to take his league form into Europe where he has not hit the net in 5 games. A 63% shot accuracy, 74% pass accuracy, no defensive actions and just 2 goal scoring chances in Europe is very mediocre as compared to his league stats. He has not featured in any cup game so far, his exploits have been in the league where he has made sure we sit atop going into the new year.
NEMANJA MATIC, 26 yrs, CDM
Matic has been a revelation since his second coming to Chelsea and has been a beast in midfield. The former Benfica man is the reason we look like a rock to opponents and impossible to break down. He gives balance to the defense while helping out with attacks and giving stability to the midfield. He is just that perfect player you need in front of the back four. With his burst of pace, he looks to unlock opposition defenses and breaks up the play when they try to attack. He is a perfect blend between brute strength and class. He gives Fabregas the freedom to roam around the pitch and dictate play, giving our team a perfect balance. He has clearly been the difference between us and our fellow title contenders.
Matic has made 18 appearances in the league, has scored one goal against Everton, creating 12 scoring chances and two assists. He has completed a total of 1051 passes with an accuracy of 88% and an incredible 75% have been forward passes. He has been involved in 6 defensive actions per game, winning 48% aerial duels and has made just 1 defensive error (amidst all defensive involvements). His overall effort for Chelsea this season is evidenced by the fact that the only game he failed to feature in (due to suspension) has been the only one we recorded a defeat.
JOHN TERRY, 34yrs, CB
‘The oldest wine tastes the best…’ as they say, this is a simple expression that describes John Terry’s masterly performances this season. Our leader, legend and captain has had a fairytale start to this season to say the least. Though his performances seem to have gone unnoticed, he has been our unsung hero and the reason for our rock-solid defense. His partner at the back, Gary Cahill has seen his intimidating form drop of late but JT’s commanding displays have seen us become very strong at the back. The former England captain has featured in all our league games this season, opened the scoring at The Britannia stadium and at The Bridge against an in-form West Ham side. He has come to our rescue on several occasions. He is just what he is, a true leader!
JT has scored twice in the Champions League against Maribor and in the opener against FC Schalke. Of all the four games he scored in, we ended up keeping clean sheets! He has won 19 tackles in the league, with a success rate of 66%, made 18 interceptions, 105 clearances and 12 blocks! That’s right, those are his stats so far this season. That’s how incredible our captain has been for us but all of these seem to go unnoticed because of the goals and free-flowing football we are enjoying. He records two goals in the league with a 78% shot accuracy, 92% pass accuracy, makes an average of seven defense actions per game and has won an incredible 71% of aerial duels. Moreover, he has never been cautioned. What a great show of discipline!
HAVE YOUR SAY!!! Whom do you think has had the greatest impact on our season so far?
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni