UCL: Chelsea’s statistics in the KO stage

So I often wander around Bleacher Report, and in an article talking about the top 10 teams likely to win the Champions League, there was some defensiveness in the comments section over the writer referring to Chelsea’s win as a fluke. Apparently, some people feel like Chelsea deserved to win.

I doubt that anyone but Chelsea fans feel that way, but I’m still shocked that anyone can have that take on Chelsea’s victory, which I still think may have been caused by black magic or human sacrifice or something.

So I thought it would be fun to compile some stats to prove how much they didn’t deserve to get past Benfica, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich.

Here’s a fun table.

Chelsea Benfica, Barcelona, & Bayern Munich
Possession (average)

35%

65%

Shots

49

137

Shots on Target

14

36

Corners

11

51

Fouls

81

51

I’ll provide the breakdown by teams below, but let’s just look at this for a second.

It is possible to argue that possession isn’t always important. What isn’t possible, however, is to argue that shots, shots on target, and corners are not important. It’s not a matter of, “but we made our shots count.” That’s all very nice, but it only counts when you’re shutting down your opponent, too.

When, however, your opponents are getting off almost three times the shots you are and have well over twice the shots on target, there’s something wrong, and you have to pray that your keeper has a good day and be grateful for all the near-misses and woodwork.

Corners are the last ditch effort of the defense when almost all else fails. If you’re defending well, you shouldn’t be conceding many corners in the first place. The fact that Chelsea conceded 40 more corners across those 5 games than their opponents did doesn’t speak highly of their defense. It says, “We were hanging on for dear life.”

Chelsea Benfica
Possession (average)

46.50%

53.50%

Shots

29

47

Shots on Target

7

17

Corners

8

13

Fouls

33

20

 

Chelsea Barcelona
Possession (average)

19%

81%

Shots

11

47

Shots on Target

4

12

Corners

2

18

Fouls

22

17

 

Chelsea Bayern Munich
Possession (average)

44%

56%

Shots

9

43

Shots on Target

3

7

Corners

1

20

Fouls

26

14

The numbers don’t lie, and in this situation, the numbers tell a story and are quite relevant. They’re not masking any amazing Chelsea traits. They’re just drawing an accurate picture of what really happened.

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10 responses to “UCL: Chelsea’s statistics in the KO stage

  1. Nice text and statistics don’t lie. I’ve read through the comments as well, I feel quite pity for this Chelsea fan, he is so subjective, yet you keep on responding to him, +1 for that.

  2. Ref game wasn’t it? Was the ref involved in any controversial call during any of the aforementioned matches? Don’t be obtuse, Barcelona is fantastic but could not take down a 10 men Chelsea with a 2 – 0 lead. Face it, that is pathetic. Also, I like to think this as a gift from the gods for the robbery in 2009. Remember that? I’m sure you do.

    • Also, I would like to commend you in your fantastic writing. You truly are a great blogger, but don’t let passion blind your eyes. The scoreboard is the only thing that matters unless a robbery happens as the two I mentioned. Barcelona has also been victim of this, most notably in the 80s against Real Madrid. Don’t hate a team that has fought throughly to win their title of Champions. That is a beautiful moment in the sport, almost as beautiful as the Liverpool comeback in 2005. Anyways, stay classy.

    • No, but that wasn’t my point. My point was that the scoreboard only says who won, not whether it was unfair or a fluke or just plain unlucky. The scoreboard is what gets you trophies, but I wasn’t disputing that Chelsea won the trophy. I was disputing the claim that it wasn’t a fluke.

      And yes, I do remember 2009. I remember that Barcelona got some lucky calls, and I am perfectly willing to admit it. However, I also remember that Eric Abidal was shown a red card and Chelsea got to play 24 minutes with an extra man. Chelsea chose not to take advantage of that advantage and press for another goal. Chelsea chose to sit back and defend. Barcelona won through a brilliant goal that nobody spoonfed to Iniesta – he scored it all on his own. Chelsea had a strategy in 2009 and it failed them, which is a large part of why they went out. The same strategy came through last season.

      Pep said it best, about some of Barcelona’s defeats last season: if it comes down to an uncalled penalty, you haven’t done your job. He’s not wrong.

      As a sidenote, I’ve gotten really tired of Chelsea fans talking about 2009. Barcelona should have moved on over Inter in 2010, but a legal goal by Bojan was ruled offside. I don’t whine about it. It happens, and I’ve moved on. Ditto some of the decisions that went Madrid’s way last season – the only one I’m still bitter about was Mallorca, because it cost Mallorca a Europa berth and that’s just not fair. In general, it’s just football, and for teams like Barcelona and Chelsea, there will be another day.

      Edit: Thank you for the compliment. I’m flattered that you feel that way, especially as a Chelsea fan. If it makes you feel any better, my dislike of Chelsea goes far beyond any conflict they’ve ever had with Barcelona or Valencia. I don’t like them, their style of play, or the way they conduct themselves as a club. They fought for it, and I am perfectly willing to admit that, but Racing Santander fought for a draw against Madrid last season, too. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t lose 9 times out of 10.

      • ” if it comes down to an uncalled penalty,” Try 5. I agree on the Mallorca bit.

        Also, I understand your point but it isn’t a fair one. Barcelona will always win the possession game, that does not mean they will win the match. If you truly want to take more things into account, we can view Chelsea’s schedule on the games. Barcelona got plenty of rest while Chelsea did not. That is sadly the short end of the stick that EPL teams always get because the scheduling done is plain awful.

        If your players are tired, why have them run around like chickens? Also, against Bayern, Chelsea was lacking severely due to all the red cards and double yellows. Bayern was affected, but not as bad as Chelsea was. Chelsea was down in the defense AND in the mid field. I find no excuse against that match, we won it because of winning mentality. I never saw Bayern choke so much in my life, Luck also shone on Chelsea’s side, I will not deny that. I can safely say it is about damn time.

        Also, Inter won 3 – 1, one goal would not have made much of a difference. I’m sure Barcelona fans will whine if they are denied 5 penalties. That is simply absurd. There is no way to put it.

        I feel for original Barcelona fans because they got the crappy calls decades ago, but now that things seem favorable to them and are not so much for other teams (Chelsea), they seem to forget that.

      • I think we’ll have to agree to disagree about the penalties, because arguing won’t change anyone’s mind. I think that five is an exaggeration.

        Regarding their scheduling, though, I think that you’re mistaken. I agree that the EPL scheduling is ridiculous, but Spain’s isn’t much better. In 2009, Barcelona had a run of Sevilla-Valencia-Chelsea-Real Madrid-Chelsea-Villarreal. Every domestic game was against a team that ended up in the top 6, and then they had Chelsea tossed in the middle. Chelsea played Everton-West Ham-Barcelona-Fulham-Barcelona-Arsenal. The fixtures were even on the same days. Barcelona didn’t get more rest, and their schedule was slightly harder.

        This year, Barcelona has a run of Getafe-Levante-Chelsea-Real Madrid-Chelsea-Rayo Vallecano. Chelsea had Fulham-Tottenham-Barcelona-Arsenal-Barcelona-QPR. That’s a similar run again, with Fulham-Tottenham being a bit harder than Getafe-Levante but with Real Madrid being harder than Arsenal. You’re right that Chelsea got a day less rest before the first game, but again, Barcelona had to play Real Madrid. I’d have taken a day less rest after Levante over playing Real Madrid in the middle any day.

        Bayern did choke. It was depressing. And Chelsea did win in part because of mentality. I would argue that Cech was the most influential factor, throughout the tournament, but again, I have never said that Chelsea didn’t want it. I’ve just said that wanting it typically wouldn’t have been enough.

        Inter won the first leg 3-1, yes, but Barcelona won the second leg 1-0. If Bojan’s goal had stood, it would have been 3-3 on aggregate and Barcelona would have moved through on away goals.

        I’m not going to say that some Barcelona fans aren’t annoying and whiny, because they absolutely are. Despite that, I’ve heard a lot less whining from them about 2010 than from Chelsea fans about 2009. I would also argue that things aren’t more favorable toward Barcelona than toward many other big teams. I mean, I love Valencia (and football in general), so I see the nonsense that goes down, but the fact is that big teams tend to get the calls. A goal might be called offside 4 times out of 5 for the likes of QPR or Real Zaragoza and just 2 times out of five for the likes of United or Real Madrid. Big teams get more calls. It’s stupid, I hate it, but it happens for everyone, not just Barcelona. I addressed the Uefalona stuff in other posts on the blog, and at some point I’m going to go through and do the same thing domestically.

        Don’t even talk to me about Webb. I haven’t forgiven him for the World Cup. Since when is cleating a player in the chest not a sending off offense? He let way too much slide. Right there with you about classless players, too – Busquets has actually cleaned up his act significantly, but yeah, diving kills me. I’ve grown to hate di Maria and Ozil because of their diving, especially in the box (should be worth 3 game bans, imo), and I’m none too fond of Alexis Sanchez these days, either.

        I do know what you mean about boasting. I’ve started to steer clear of Barca fan blogs because I find some Barca fans to be really intolerable. For me, it’s the ignorance and the paranoia that really get to me. I remember seeing all kinds of fans claiming that Valencia were throwing the Madrid match in the spring by playing Guaita rather than Alves as keeper. Barcelona fans had seen Diego Alves do well against them, and that’s all they bothered to pay attention to. It was just so narrow-minded I wanted to reach through the computer and smack someone. Yeah, thanks, guys, if you ever watched anything but Barcelona, you’d know that Valencia have killer depth when it comes to keepers.

      • I understand. People have different reasons for not liking clubs. I personally do not like Barcelona because they do SEEM to be in the favorable side of things, just like Manchester United with their 13th player whenever Webb, ‘Burg, or whoever will be the new ref. I also dislike diving which is why I disliked that part of Drogba’s gameplan. I don’t call it cheating, but after seeing that Busquets’ peek-a-boo moment, it truly boiled my blood to see classless players get away with important calls.

        Also, it isn’t nice to boast. I despise it, and Barcelona fans (generalizing here) seem to do it more than any other. They remind me of Yankees fans.

    • I saw the scoreboard. I also saw the scoreboard at the Manchester United/Chelsea game. Do you feel the same way about that?

      Regardless, you seem to have missed my point, which is that Chelsea’s win was a fluke, not that it didn’t happen. The scoreline in no way contradicts that point.

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