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Whilst arranging my end of season numbers, which I'll be posting around the SBnation football sites over the next week, I came across the percentage of minutes played for each player.
The usual method used of telling us, the fans, of how much any given player played for his side is total minutes played, I think those numbers can be taken and turned into a percentage using the total minutes the team played in the season. By using this we can come up with a depth chart for each position and this can tell us a few things.
-Who was used the most
-who was available for selection considering injuries and suspension
-Who was trusted by the manager
After the jump I'll introduce you to something I'll call ToP(time on pitch) %
Chelsea played 3610 minutes in the EPL for an average of 95 minutes per game.
Each players % is of the total mins they individually played against the total number of minutes the team played. An example X player plays 359 minutes of the 3591 minutes Man Utd played this season and thus has a ToP of 10%
So the Chelsea depth chart looks like this
Cech 3409 Mins 94.4% ToP%
Turnbull 190 mins 0.052% ToP%
Hilario 190 mins 0.052% ToP%
I had to adjust this slightly for GK only have mins listed in 90 minute blocks. So it's slightly out.
Terry 2790 mins 77.3% ToP%
Cole 2786 mins 77.2% ToP%
Ivanovic 2263 mins 62.6% ToP%
Bosingwa 2118 mins 58.6% ToP%
Luiz 1650 mins 45.7% ToP%
Cahill 885 mins 24.5% ToP%
Bertrand 540 mins 14.9% ToP%
Ferreira 368 mins 10% ToP%
Alex 246 mins 0.6% ToP%
Hutchinson 77 mins 0.021% Top%
We can clearly see here who the favoured work horses were. Terry and Cole with very similar ToP%'s. Bosingwa and Ivanovic sharing right back duties (Ivanovic saw time at CB, too, I assume). Luiz had a far lower ToP% than those regular 4 defenders ahead of him, with Cahill picking up minutes too after his January move. A regular partner for Terry is needed, even more so if Ivanovic departs ( I don't believe it will be to either of the Spanish clubs recently linked)
A feel good story for Sam Hutchinson here, too. Having retired once already due to chronic knee trouble it was good to see him play the last league game of the season against Blackburn.
Ramires 2474 mins 68.5% ToP%
Lampard 2250 mins 62.3% ToP%
Meireles 1932 mins 53.5% ToP%
Mikel 1323 mins 36.6% ToP%
Romeu 952 mins 26.3% ToP%
Essien 920 mins 25.4% ToP%
Ramires is the suprise leader for ToP% for midfielders and I think this is a testament to the progress he made this season. He was trusted by his respected managers, his energy, quickness over the ground and forward runs were essential to a team whose midfield lacks a little of those qualities.
Lampard slipped into second place with a 62.3 % ToP number and although injuries played a part, it was the omission (and main problem) from AVB's starting line ups which has led to a lower ToP% number than we would usually expect.
Mikel is treading water by this measure, Romeu isn't there yet in terms of performance and Essien seems to be struggling. I get a feeling when I now watch Essien, the very same feeling I get, incidentally, when I watch an aged boxer work his way around the ring. The feeling is one of sadness, the boxer looks the same, slightly aged around the face maybe, but the speed has gone, ditto for the reactions, the reflexes, the eyes have dimmed slightly from the great brightness of their powerful peak in their now far away youth. I feel sad when I watch Essien, he's not the same player, nor should he be after the knee injuries. We should remember him well, I shall remember him with eyes blazing in celebration, in that flush of youth and unblemished body when he scored that goal against Barcelona.
Mata 2531 mins 70.1% ToP%
Sturridge 2268 mins 62.8% ToP%
Malouda 1153 mins 31.9% ToP%
Kalou 576 mins 15.9% ToP%
Mata was a success by most definitions in his first season at Chelsea, his ToP % is very good for a youngish player adapting to a difficult league. Sturridge continued his development into what should be an above average EPL player here, adding goals to his relatively high number of minutes played. Malouda, on his way out, Kalou already gone. I guess this is where Eden Hazard fits in. He should get first choice minutes alongside Mata, and also pencil in minutes here for Marin, the German youngster.
Torres 1904 mins 52.7% ToP%
Drogba 1480 mins 40.9% ToP%
Anelka 411 mins 11.3% ToP%
Lukaku 158 mins 0.071% ToP%
Torres Chelsea's #1 striker! Doesn't quite have a ring to it, and it's not quite true if we take into account thing we can't quantify, like, emotional impact on a game-for his team and on the opposition. Drogba was Chelsea's # 1 striker, as he has been for the last 9 years having beaten off all the expensive striking purchases. He leaves on a high-probably to Madrid- and leaves as, in my opinion, the second best striker to play in the EPL behind Shearer. Drogba, a bully at his best, a ranting, sore loser at his worst. Both a physical force of nature capable of dismantling the psyche of a defender (stand up, Senderos-or sit down) and a man capable of outright diving and bending of the spirit of the game. The one Chelsea supporting friend I know, John, named his dog Drogba as a testament to the impact he had on him and Chelsea. No higher praise than that!
Going into next season, this forward line will look quite different. Torres will be the number 1 striker, no doubt this time. Will he recapture his form? Good question, impossible to answer. He looks shaken from a confidence point of view, I think he is 3 or 4 kilos heavier than he should be and once was during his Liverpool prime.
Drogba has left a hero, Anelka has left an enigma. He arrived that way in 98 and did little to dispel that tag in the in past decade or so. Lukaku looked liked Drogba may have done at the same age if anyone had of seen him (Drogba) at the same age. Lukaku is raw, clumsy and struggled mightily in the brief moments I, or anyone else saw him in this season. Unless a Drogberian evolution of his movement, 5 yard speed and first touch occur, I feel he may become another mistaken adventure in the transfer market for Chelsea. There is plenty of time for him to progress, though.
Hulk to be one addition? Do Chelsea need one more? 3 strikers seems par for the modern EPL.
Thanks for reading. I write for Bitter and Blue on the SBNation network.
Twitter @ Benjamin Pugsley