No, not really! Infact its more about why Chelsea have been crowned Champions and what differentiates them from the other title challengers such as Wenger and ‘Pellegrino’
The Blues started their title defence with a controversial game at Stamford Bridge. It was a game reminiscent of so many things from the last season: referee decisions, Mourinho’s sideline scowls and some great attacking football from Chelsea.
Chelsea won the League last season quiet comfortably, winning comfortably in first half of the season before grinding results in the second part. Interestingly, the highest away win as well as the highest scoring game of last season both involved Chelsea as the victorious team.
Yet people like Wenger and Pellegrino raised eyebrows and dissed the style Chelsea adopted after New Year at White Heart Lane. If one were to ask the respective managers of the two title challengers (pretenders) that if they are so good in attack and easy on the eye why were they not able to be involved in a more high scoring game than the 3-6 result at Goodison Park. If not, at least they could win by a five goal margin against a team that eventually finished 8th, a decent opposition.
Nonetheless, Chelsea have not lost to any top four team in the previous two seasons. In 2013-14, Chelsea beat both the teams above them but lost to the likes of Crystal Palace. It was to minnows that Chelsea had lost the title that year and not the likes of City or Liverpool.
Given Chelsea’s imperious record against top 4 teams, lets see how the Premier League would have went if the top 4 teams didn’t have to play each other. That would be 6 games reduced of the 38 for each top four team. To save time, lets also omit the greatest English team, who won to spurs at home thanks to an own goal.
The above table removes any results of the three teams against the three teams from top four including Manchester United. That removes 2 games against each of the three and six games in total. It makes the league a 32 game affair for the top four teams against non-elite sides of the Premier League such as Liverpool or Tottenham.
Even when only playing against the lower teams in the league, Chelsea manage to win the league. Since the result for all of top four becomes independent of their mutual clashes, it goes on to show that the affairs billed as title deciders may not actually be title deciders.
A few other conclusions can be derived from the above numbers:
Manchester City’s defence:
Vincent Kompany and Mangala might not have had the best time last season. Zabaleta also seemed out of depth at times as Manchester City conceded the most goals among top four with 38 conceded. Out of these, 10 were against teams at the top of the table.
Pellegrino wins his matches by scoring goals but when his team comes up against the likes of Chelsea and United, they also concede. Of their 6 matches against the three top four teams, City kept a clean sheet only in one. In comparison Arsenal had 2 such clean sheets.
If they want to win the league this season, they need to shore things up at the back because frankly, United embarrassed them last season with a 4-2 win.
Chelsea win twice the games against top 4 than City and Arsenal:
One season can not be enough to judge a teams performance against a set of opponents, but specific to last season, Chelsea won twice the number of games against top four opposition in the Premier League than either City or Arsenal.
While this may not give the title to Chelsea in and of itself but it keeps the opposition in check.
Chelsea win the most points against top four opponents:
As can be seen from the hypothetical league table above for the season 2014-15, Chelsea’s points tally is reduced the most when taking the results against top four out of the equation. Arsenal and City both see 6 points reduced from their actual points tally when the results against top 4 are neglected.
Both Arsenal and Manchester City there score an average of 1 point against top four opposition. Meaning they draw each game in effect. On the other hand, Chelsea see their points reduced by 10 when the results against top four are neglected, which simply means they win more points against the best teams in the league than any of their direct rivals.
This may not have counted in the previous two seasons because of very different reasons (Chelsea’s result against small teams in 2013-14 and the reversal of the same the following season) but if the fight comes to the Blues as everyone expects of Arsenal and City then this would be very crucial to securing the league title’s stay at the Bridge.
For the past season, even if none of the top 4 played each other, Chelsea would have been crowned Champions simply because they lost 4 games less than their closest rivals. Besides, they won more games than either of them against the decent as well as not so good teams.
However, since Chelsea have remained an identical squad to last season for all intents and purposes and Arsenal, City as well as United have all strengthened, it would come in handy to have the tactical genius that is Jose Mourinho. His games against these so called top teams might have been dull and boring but show that the Blues’ thought process beats any of their competition.
Yes, it’s funny how Arsenal fans dream about winning the EPL!
Here’s to another long, thrilling and successful season. KTBFFH!
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