A lot of talk has been going around lately about Chelsea's need for a new striker. Some people think going out and spending big on someone like Falcao would be in Chelsea's best interest. Others say that we should just hand the main spot to one of the hottest young strikers in the EPL - Lukaku, who we also happen to already own. I'm here to say that - and I already expect this to be met with some vivid disagreement - in fact, Torres and Ba are doing more than a good enough job, and Chelsea's problem is not a need for more goals. Let's look at some numbers!
|Games Played||Goals Scored||Goals Allowed||GS / Game||GA / Game|
|2012-2013 (so far)||34||68||35||2.00||1.03|
|Average (past 5 seasons)||38||74||32.2||1.95||0.85|
When looking at the above chart, one thing immediately jumps out at me: Chelsea have, in four less games, already scored pretty much the same amount of goals this season as they have in all but one of the previous five seasons. That 2009-2010 season is an exceptional case, wherein Chelsea scored the most goals that any team has ever scored in the EPL.
If we look at the GS / Game numbers, the success of Chelsea's current season is even more striking. Chelsea are scoring 2.00 goals / game so far this season, which is better than the average of 1.95 goals / game over the previous five seasons. And if you know a bit more than the average person about statistics, then you'll notice that there is a huge outlier in those numbers (the double winning record-setting season, where we scored 2.71 goals per game). If you remove that outlier, then the average of the other four of the previous five seasons is a mere 1.71 goals / game, which is much lower than the 2.00 that we are averaging now (a difference of about 10 more goals scored by the end of a season). Now, some of you might be thinking, "but Oscar! The only year in the last five we won the league is when we scored 103 goals! That means we need to score more if we want to win the league again!" And that's a fair point, but my response would be to look at some more numbers. Specifically, in the two years that we won back-to-back titles, we only scored 72 goals (both seasons) in 38 games, which is good for an average of 1.89 goals / game, and still less than we are scoring this year (and on pace to finish off with). So clearly the problem isn't the amount of goals we are scoring. In fact, I remember most people on this site saying that if Torres scored 20+ goals this season, they would consider it a success and get off his back. Obviously, that hasn't happened even though he achieved that goal, but the numbers show that we don't need any more goals. Torres and Demba Ba are more than enough to get the job done next year.
Consider, on the other hand, the amount of goals allowed by Chelsea this season. We are currently allowing more goals / game than in any other season in the previous five except last season (THANKS AVB!). In fact, we're on pace to allow about 10 more goals this season than is average over the previous five, and that includes last season's outlier of 1.21 goals allowed / game. Chelsea's current problem with allowing too many goals is even more shocking when we look at the two years we won back-to-back titles. In 2005 - 2006, Chelsea only allowed 22 goals, which makes for a fantastic 0.58 goals per game. The 2004 - 2005 season is even more shocking, wherein Chelsea only allowed a ridiculous 15 goals all season (good for 0.39 per game). Compared with our current pace of 1.03 goals per game, those numbers look crazy. Chelsea has a much bigger problem in allowing too many goals than they do in scoring them. If we want to win the title (or come even close) next season, that is the area of the pitch Chelsea needs to address, not the attack.
Now, there are a lot of theories as to what is wrong with Chelsea's defense. Some people point to the band of three not really tracking back to help out. Last year, it was all about the high line (and Bosingwa getting regular minutes. THANKS AVB!). For my money, I think that we still haven't replaced Ballack and an in-his-prime Essien, who contributed to the team on both ends of the pitch and controlled every game. But either way, as I've stated, the problem isn't our attackers.
Chelsea has never been (Double Winning 2009-2010 season excepted) about scoring tons of goals. Chelsea is at their best when they score about 70 goals, which we're at now, but concede *a lot less* than we have been conceding. So please, let's all stop talking about Torres and Ba and Falcao and Lukaku, and let's all start talking about Fellaini and Strootman and Hummels, etc.