Having seen how the two 2011-12 Chelsea managers' chosen formations stacked up against each other in Part 1, let's look at how Chelsea's players fared individually last season in terms of both overall and per-position Plus/Minus statistics.
Chelsea finished a +46 for the season, scoring 112 goals in all competitions and conceding 66. This provides a theoretical max of +112 and a theoretical minimum of -66 for any given player, neither of which should be even remotely approached, of course. Drilling down a little bit though, we do find some interesting numbers, such as Ramires achieving a +25 under AVB, on whose reign the books were closed at +26. Key player, anyone?
But first, let's look at some overall and by-position numbers. Each player will be examined in detail later in this post (or, more appropriately, 'can be examined' by you, dear reader), so I will concentrate on just the best in each case.
Oh, one more thing, let's get the goalkeepers out of the way:
Yep. Petr Cech. I think that's all that needs to be said.
So, onwards with the field players:
NB: just like for formations, the shorthanded situations were mostly ignored. They do count for the Overall player Plus/Minus, but they were not associated with either manager or with any particular position. While this automatically induces a potential error of about 5% (300 minutes played with 9/10-men out of 5610 total minutes), it saved me the frustration of having to assign positions in such dynamic and special circumstances (i.e. Drogba as a left back). It also simplified the individual player cards that you see at the end of this post.
- Overall: Ashley Cole, Juan Mata (+42); John Terry (+35)
- AVB's Best: Ramires (+25); Cole (+23); Mata (+22)
- RDM's Best: Mata (+19); Salomon Kalou (+18); Frank Lampard, Cole (+17)
- Short-handed: Branislav Ivanovic, Jose Bosingwa, Raul Meireles (+3)
Cole & Mata were clearly a cut above the rest. Joining them in the 30+ club were Terry, Ramires, Ivanovic, Lampard, and David Luiz. Let's call them our key players. I don't think many would disagree.
* Oriol Romeu was a +12 under AVB, but a (-3) in his brief cameos for Di Matteo.
** Florent Malouda was a superbly underwhelming big fat 0: +1 for Robbie, +1 in short-handed situations, (-2) for AVB. More on this later.
- EPL-only: Cole (+20)
- CL-only: David Luiz (+13)
- FA/League Cups: Mata (+14)
- Left Back (DL): Cole (+40)
- Center Back (DC): Terry (+34)
- Right Back (DR): Bosingwa (+22)
- Holding Mid (DMx1): Romeu (+12)
- Pivot Mid (DMx2): Lampard (+16)
- Central Mid (MC): Ramires (+22)
- Left Wing/Forward (AM/FL): Mata (+23)
- "In-the-hole" (AMC): Mata (+20)
- Right Wing/Forward (AM/FR): Daniel Sturridge (+21)
- Center/Lone Forward (FC/ST): Fernando Torres (+20)
Before you ask, Bosingwa just barely edged Ivanovic out for the right back spot (+22 v. +20). Ashley Cole was followed by Mata & Sturridge, both on +19, in the EPL-only count. All of this, and much more, can be seen in the following player cards (assuming I collected this data with any semblance of accuracy...).
In the interest of saving space (and time), I'm posting the cards in groups, rather than individually - so don't worry about trying to make sense of the order:
John TERRY: Relative to his Premier League numbers, he did not cover himself in glory in the Champions League campaign.
Gary CAHILL: Just further proof of Gary's solid play. The only real negative was his involvement in the debacle of Naples.
ALEX: He was just not very good. The only outfield player with a negative plus/minus (more conceded than scored while he was on the pitch)!
DAVID LUIZ: Playing just about every single minute of our Europe-conquering campaign, Sideshow was the man.
Branislav IVANOVIC: Just in case you're still wondering which is his best position: +9 as DC; +20 as DR. Led the team with 232 minutes played in short-handed situations, too. RAWR!
Sam HUTCHINSON: Hutch was on the bench for Nottingham Forest's first match of the new season.
Jose BOSINGWA: Now QPR's secret weapon. He's clearly amazing at center back.
Ryan BERTRAND: That Premier League record is a bit worrying (-3), but the only way is up for the promising (and potentially versatile) youngster.
Paulo FERREIRA: The Phantom at right back seems to be synonymous with 'Goal Fest'.
Michael ESSIEN: Small sample, but it really doesn't look bad. Perhaps there's still some hope left for the Bison to resurrect (part of) his old self.
John Obi MIKEL: That FA Cup run sure makes his stats look good.
Oriol ROMEU: It'll be very interesting to see how Romeu fits into Di Matteo's plans. Will we see a return of that promising Romeu who had fans' tongues wagging?
Frank LAMPARD: Almost twice as effective with Di Matteo than with AVB.
Josh McEACHRAN: Still waiting for that next step. Remembering all those silly reds in his League Cup matches make me sad.
RAMIRES: Best utilizing the amazing Ramires will be key to the new season...but based on this, he sure looks a lot better in a midfield-three than on a right/left wing.
Raul MEIRELES: I guess at the end of it all, he was not entirely horrible. MRLSH, you're a cult hero!
Florent MALOUDA: On the other hand... Why did we insist on the playing Malouda so often and in such varying positions?
Daniel STURRIDGE: I believe in
Harvey Dent Daniel Sturridge!
Juan MATA: Quite clearly carried the load by himself. Let's make it easier on him this year.
Nicolas ANELKA: You really must wonder what AVB was thinking in [fun]ing up the Nico-situation.
Salomon KALOU: This just makes me sad that he's gone. A pox on your petty house, AVB! Hopefully Di Matteo sent his notes along with Sala to Lille, so that he may be utilized there just as well.
Fernando TORRES: Much better with Robbie. Hope!
Romelu LUKAKU: WBA's loan of Lukaku will be the transfer of the season. You're welcome, Steve Clarke.
Didier DROGBA: We'll always have Munich, Didier.
Yossi BENAYOUN: The key question: can Yossi improve on his 2 minutes played? My money is on 'No'.
Ashley COLE: Ash, you're a legend, even if I just stuck you in at the end.