Chelsea have had contrasting recent home and away form. Four wins from four on the road, and just one win in the last six at home. Are there any underlying reasons for this form, and why are Chelsea struggling at home when it has traditionally been a fortress?
This look at chelsea's home and away form will mostly be focused on Chelsea's ability to generate shots on target and prevent the opposition from doing so. I will also be looking at Chelsea's performances at certain game states in order to answer some of the questions surrounding Chelsea's home and away form.
This was Rafa's (I think you guys calll him something different!) reaction to Chelsea's performance during the 2-2 home draw with Southampton.
So, we know Chelsea's recent home and away form streaks but how much poorer is Chelsea's home form in comparison to their away form?
Points and Goals
Home 19 points Away 23 points
|Home Goals||Away goals|
|Home GD||Away GD|
These basic numbers are a little confusing. More points have been gained away from home by Chelsea, yet less away goals have been scored, and the away goal difference is less impressive, also.
A deficit of 4 points between home and away form isn't any great margin, but that sequence of 1 win in 6 home games (five of them under Benitez) is what will attract headlines and curiosity.
Strength of Home and Away Schedules
The first question to ask as to why a club like Chelsea, with historically good form, have gained a superior number of points away from home?
The following graphs take Chelsea's opponents league position at the time of fixture. We then weight that number (20 being the toughest, 1 the easiest) to come up with a fixture difficulty rating.
The graphs below are that difficulty of fixture over the course of a season in the shape of a moving average.
Chelsea's home fixture list is, by my method, the 16th toughest home schedule so far in 2012/13
Chelsea's away schedule is ranked 5th toughest in the league.
Chelsea's away schedule shows us that Chelsea have faced opponents that are, on average, ranked one place higher in the table than those faced at home.
Now that we have established how many points and the difficulty of schedule Chelsea have faced home and away, let's now look at individual results and finer data like shots on target.
Chelsea's Home match result with Shots on target +/-
The colour of each bar denotes the match result and the number tells us who won the shots on target battle.
Chelsea have had two standout games in terms of out-shooting the opposition, Norwich (4-1) and Villa (8-0). Those two games produced excellent numbers for Chelsea, but those games aside Chelsea haven't been that effective in terms of gaining a clear numerical advantage in shots on target, and it has showed in your results.
Of the 4 draws Chelsea have recorded only once were the opposition out-shot (Southampton) and of the two defeats Chelsea were outshot by QPR and down early to Man United by two goals, which brings into play talk of score effects.
Chelsea, at home, simply haven't been that effective at out-shooting the opposition.
Away Form by the same method
Chelsea's away form in terms of out-shooting the opposition is all over the place. Chelsea were out-shot, or equal, on 6 occasions but somehow managed to win 5 of those fixtures. Again, does being a goal ahead early enable a team to sit back and soak up pressure, and thus lose the shots on target battle?
Chelsea took the lead in five out of those six games, and before the 20th minute on four of those five. Chelsea fans, you guys, will be able to colour in the tactical plans that Chelsea adopted in those games when an early goal put Chelsea in a strong position in that game.
For some context on the above home and away charts, a link here which shows win or loss % in 2012/13 in accordance to a teams SoT +/- in that fixture.
Shots on target at certain game states
We have looked at the shots on target +/- charts, so now let's break that down further and evaluate how well Chelsea have performed at certain game states.
Evens=the game score is tied, a minus number indicates Chelsea losing the game by that number of goals (-2 = 2 goals down), and a + number indicates Chelsea were winning the game by that certain margin.
Home in blue, Away in red.
Here are Chelsea's numbers for their home and away form.
Chelsea's home shots on target +/- by certain game states shows us some interesting things which may explain some things about a less than sparkling home points total.
1) Chelsea's decent overall shots on target +/- number is being driven mostly by heavily out-shooting the opposition when the game is already won, over and the opposition demoralized. 21 of Chelsea's 25 SoT +/- have come when Chelsea are already winning the game.
2) Chelsea's shots on target +/- at evens (score tied) is -2. The SoT +/- number is pretty important when the gaqme is tied and Chelsea's poor number may explain why they have failed to turn games being drawn into games being won.
Chelsea's away shots on target +/- by certain game states is almost a polar opposite of their home form.
1) Chelsea are dominating the opposition at evens (game tied) and it has showed in the number of occasions Chelsea has scored the first goal or broke open a tied game. +10 at evens is a really good number away from home.
2) Chelsea, when leading at +1 or +2 have been outshot by a combined 9 shots on target. This, I believe, is clear evidence of Chelsea's tactical plan when leading by a goal or more away from home; shut up shop and cede territory, ball possession in order to keep a solid defensive position. If an away team employs such a tactical set-up then it may be likely that said team will lose the shot on target battle when already leading by a goal, this, it seems, is what has happened when Chelsea have been leading away from home.
In this quick look at Chelsea's home and away form, we have seen that Chelsea have gained more points away from home than at home, and this despite out-shooting the opposition by a total of 25 SoT at home and just 2 SoT away from home. That comparison of SoT totals can be misleading as I hope i have shown with the charts on Chelsea SoT +/- at certain game states.
Those charts show Chelsea as a flat track bully SoT team at home, who punish the opposition when their will has been broken and the scoreline imbalanced in Chelsea's favour, but Chelsea are a team who struggle, and failed to out-shoot the opposition when the score is tied. The shots on target battle when the game is tied is surely the most crucial, and Chelsea have been poor at home at evens.
As for Chelsea's away form, they are a good SoT team when the game is tied and this may be reflected in Chelsea's ability to score the first goal of the game on the road, and score it early, thus taking control of the fixture.
The above charts are just one way to examine the how's and why's behind a teams form, and I think they show that Chelsea, in terms of winning the shots battle at a tied game state (this is immportant), are not a great team at home but pretty effective and sharp away from home.
Naturally, I do not watch all of Chelsea's games, and tactics may well explain a great deal that numbers cannot about Chelsea's respective home and away points totals. Apart from Chelsea, Wigan are the only other team to have gained more away points than home points, and for Chelsea, this is new territory and a quirk that may need more examination to expain.
Just for a little context, the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea by shots on target +/- and game state.
Man City, Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal
City in light blue, Chelsea in Royal blue, United in red, Arsenal in yellow. All numbers taken before this weekends fixtures.
The Manchester clubs are pretty far ahead, and City have clear daylight between themselves and United. Only Man United's league leading and absurdly high goals/shots on target conversion % keeps them ahead of Man City in terms of points gained.
Thanks for reading.