Weak notes

by Benny

typically less than weekly things of note

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Stamford Shed - interview

Hi ChelseaStats, thank you speaking to us today. What sparked your love for the club and made you become a fan?

My Dad took me to my first game - a 1-1 draw with Crewe at the Bridge. I was hooked. I loved being in the old shed and sometimes going on to the benches, but it was really the mid to late 90s that got me hooked I remember going along to the bridge with my dad for semi-final tickets vs Luton, they went on sale at 8pm and we walked back across London to Euston at 2-3am before driving back home That was some experience for a young kid and I only went to keep my dad company, I think he got that I was dedicated and hooked. That trip to Wembley was awesome, but I missed out on the final vs United. The Boro final made up for it though. I can still remember and feel the exact spine-tingling disbelief and amazement when Di Matteo blasted one in after 43 seconds. It’s those emotions that become addictive they tangle themselves around you and draw you in, never let you go and you love it. I utterly adore that era and those players.

What was your inspiration behind starting Chelsea Stats?

I started in May 2010, just after that record breaking year under Carlo. At the time there didn’t appear to be much in the way of stats available freely on social media and I wanted to keep a record of things for myself, So I started my own website documenting events and worked back over the summer to add historical records. Once I started tweeting the feedback was positive and people seemed to like what i was doing. Since then the whole stats thing has snowballed and become mainstream. I was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

How important to do you think statistics are becoming in the modern game?

I think it’s becoming increasingly crucial for fans, those that like to bet, or play fantasy games. Almost all of us have a mobile phone, a second screen when watching on TV, or something to look at as we travel round the country to support our team. The game is more competitive than ever before, egged on by the 24 hour news coverage and the celebrity lifestyle, the money etc and thus fans and much as clubs want to know the details, gain insight or prove someone else wrong in a debate. So much of player acquisitions happen behind undisclosed terms, we have little knowledge of how many times scouts watch a player, but each club is looking for some details some indication on whether they can gain a competitive advantage. Like Sales figures for any business, football clubs need those metrics too.

Do you think fans can become to fixated on stats?

Yes of course. Football stats are still in their infancy within the game so half the time we are not sure what metrics are useful or meaningful. Chelsea fans are often critical of players like Ivanovic because “his crossing is woeful” but his statistics should he is above average. It’s around 1 in 42 crosses that lead to a goal. Another example might be Mikel and an obsession with his backwards and sideways passing. Missing the fact he keeps possession and allows players to reposition from a defensive mindset to an attacking one.

There is also quite a lot of confirmation bias in the watching games that the stats don’t actually support too so sometimes its not even the stats but perceived and remembered events that people can become fixated on.

Of course being fixated on the result, 3 points and the league position is normal!

Falcao could take the no.9 shirt should he sign, the shirt has been dubbed as a cursed number in the past. Do the stats back that statement up?

It’s hard to confirm or deny this, It’s difficult to suggest our number 9s have performed as expected - Sidwell, Boulahrouz and Di Santo - would they have done better in a different shirt though, probably not.

I think it would be fair to say that there might be some pressures with the number 9 shirt for some teams Newcastle/Shearer or perhaps 7 at United or Liverpool. But I don’t think we have that mantle here.

Sutton flopped for £10m but he did score vs United in a 5-0 win. Vialli (40 goals in 69+19 games), Hasslebaink (87 in 156+21), Crespo (25 in 73+10) doesn’t suggest we’ve done too badly. I doubt Falcao will be remembered as fondly as those three as for a start he’ll only likely get one season with us. If he scores 10 goals in all competitions i’d be happy.

How have Chelsea managed in pre-season following a title winning season? Are there any good omens ahead of next season?

I take little interest in pre-season fixtures to be honest. they are mostly meaningless so i don’t think we could gather decent intel to make an informed judgement. The sample size is also pretty small.

That said we always seem to start the season strongly anyway and especially under Mourinho.

Loic Remy has attracted a lot of interest recently, how important was he in the run in to the title last season?

Remy was crucial, he did precisely what was needed of him. No fuss, no frills but goals. He scored 4 times in his 10 starts in all competitions and his goals per 90 minutes return of 0.817 is pretty impressive. I’m glad he is staying with us and should be picked ahead of Falcao for me.

Which player has been the most underrated and slipped under the radar last season?

Willian, I think he is absolutely crucial in what Mourinho wants to achieve with this team, but because he doesn’t score or assist too many he can fall short in comparisons with Hazard for example. Willian featured in 49 games last season the same number as John Terry. Although Willian came off the bench 13 times, it suggests that when trying to give him a rest he was needed and I think we would all agree Willian covers far greater distances than Terry does now.

Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League in a disappointing fashion, do the statistics show any major factor for their elimination?

I’d just put it down to variance. We had a bad day and were outperformed or we were outperformed and that made it a bad day.

We have to remember we didn’t lose a Champions League match last season, we lost 4 the season before and reached the semi-final, Lost twice en-route to Munich. It happens.

Like New Year’s day and the FA Cup defeat it Keeps us honest.

Chelsea face Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League, Chelsea have an impressive record on the opening day right?

Chelsea have won 1-0,1-0,3-0,3-2,2-0 and 3-1 under Jose Mourinho in the first league game of the new season. We drew with Stoke under AVB but otherwise we’ve been winning a lot.

Chelsea are also W76 D21 L1 at home in the Premier League under Mourinho over both his spells with us too.

He’s also won 100% of his 4 meetings with swansea.

Looks strong doesn’t it!

Can we get you thoughts on next season? Anything you’re hoping to see?

Other teams have strengthened and pretty well too in my opinion. But have their transfers made them better than us. No.

They’ll run us closer than before, but those realistic challengers for top 6 can all beat each other. Whilst we tend to run pretty well against the big teams under Mourinho, I think that’ll make a big difference on the final table.

We’ll win the league and go deep in the Champions League. Wouldn’t rule out a domestic cup too.

No pressure, no stress, everyone just relax.