By Bulldog Drummond
Chelsea, as we will all remember, were thumped by Arsenal 3-0 at the Ems, and although that was good news for us it was pretty bad news for the rest of football as they then went on a whirlwind of winning.
|01/10/2016||A||Hull City||2:0 (0:0)||W|
|15/10/2016||H||Leicester City||3:0 (2:0)||W|
|23/10/2016||H||Manchester United||4:0 (2:0)||W|
|26/11/2016||H||Tottenham Hotspur||2:1 (1:1)||W|
|03/12/2016||A||Manchester City||3:1 (0:1)||W|
|11/12/2016||H||West Bromwich Albion||1:0 (0:0)||W|
|17/12/2016||A||Crystal Palace||1:0 (1:0)||W|
|26/12/2016||H||AFC Bournemouth||3:0 (1:0)||W|
|31/12/2016||H||Stoke City||4:2 (1:0)||W|
|04/01/2017||A||Tottenham Hotspur||0:2 (0:1)||L|
|14/01/2017||A||Leicester City||3:0 (1:0)||W|
|22/01/2017||H||Hull City||2:0 (1:0)||W|
|22/01/2017||H||Hull City||2:0 (1:0)||W|
It doesn’t make promising viewing for other teams, but all runs end sometime, and one way of looking at things is that the Chelsea have only won three of the last five. Trouble is that at home they look fairly invincible at the moment.
If we just take the home games the table looks like this
And the away table…
So whichever way we look at it, it should be a Chelsea home win. But then so should the game for us against Watford.
Over the past five games the results have been even – two wins each, two defeats each…
|26 Apr 2015||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||0-0||Premier League|
|02 Aug 2015||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||1-0||FA Community Shield|
|19 Sep 2015||Chelsea v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|24 Jan 2016||Arsenal v Chelsea||L||0-1||Premier League|
|24 Sep 2016||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||3-0||Premier League|
Chelsea’s success can be put down in particular to their extraordinary run of injuries this season – in fact they hardly seem to have had any. Indeed at the moment they are showing zero injuries. We are at least in the bottom section of the injury table, although Elneny is not listed – he is still with Egypt who have made it through to the Final of the Africa Cup. I don’t have an update on his injury sustained in a previous round.
Here’s the foot of the injury league table…
|15||Arsenal||2||A Ramsey||Calf Strain|
|16||Manchester City||2||S Aguero||Knock|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||2||B Galloway||Knock|
|18||Leicester City||2||I Slimani||Groin Injury|
|19||Bournemouth||1||C Daniels||Knee Injury|
According to the statistics in WhoScored, Chelsea only have one weakness which is aerial duels. The other interesting point to pick up from WhoScored on this game is that according to their stats both sides play non-aggressive football, but their opponents play aggressively against them. That isn’t quite how I’ve seen the games in recent years, and the incidents involving Gabriel being wound up by Diego Costa and sent off for a red that was of course overturned, and Santi Cazorla getting sent off at Stamford Bridge suggest a slightly different interpretation.
It was indeed interesting that while the media wanted Mr Wenger to get a six month stadium ban for the incident recently with an official there have been few calls for referee bans for the Costa incident, nor indeed for the Andre Marriner sending off of Gibbs for stopping a goal with his hand. Not only did he get the wrong player, and then refused to listen to the players all telling him who the right player was, but also the ball was clearly not headed for the goal, and therefore was not a sending off offence.
On that occasion former world cup ref Clive Thomas said that the four quasi-officials in charge of that game should be banned for the rest of the season adding on BBC Radio 5, “It’s the most disgusting, shocking decision I’ve seen. In my opinion these four wouldn’t officiate another Premier League game this season.”
But of course this sort of behaviour is what we have to put up with these days. Players get punished, even when the ref is clearly, utterly wrong, but refs do not.
Moving on, both clubs do have something in common – they go for goals and have top scorers. Here is the current chart for Arsenal and Chelsea players who have scored six or more goals in the Premier League this season
|Player||Mins per goal||Goals scored||Assists||Shots on target||Total shots|
So yes, it is possible to find reasons to be cheerful, but I am not sure that is going to stop my nerves!
Now available: Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football (Kindle Edition)