For those of you who didn't know, scoring is the objective of this game we all love. Scoring more goals than a team makes your team better then the other one. Therefore, scoring more goals than another player makes you better than that player, right? Right? Not always. As the game progressed we found that it is easier to score against worse teams than it is against better teams. And as our understanding of the game has advanced so must our statistical analysis of players. As a top club, Chelsea will inevitably find themselves in important games against other top clubs. We need players who can play up to that competition, so I went out to see who is performing at their best against which level of competition.
Before I go further I must point out a couple things. 1.) This is a look just at goals scored. There are other ways to have good game than scoring a goal. (Assists, tackles, saves) 2.) I'm not perfect. I had to go game by game to count out the performances so they may not be 100% accurate, but they are pretty close. 4.) I'll explain further later but there was one level of competition where game info was limited, which is what caused such a skewed goals to appearances ratio.
Breaking Down the Competition:
For the teams in the EPL I just used the current league table. The top 7 teams were placed in Tier 1, next 6 were in Tier 2 and bottom 7 were in Tier 3. All clubs in lower division English leagues (like when we met Brentford in the FA Cup) went into Tier 4. Teams in Tier 4 were usually games that weren't televised much or WhoScored deemed as unworthy of proper statistical posting, so that through off the stats there a little bit. All the teams we met in European play or the CWC I placed them based on how I felt they would compete. I rated the teams we met in UCL as higher than those in Europa for a combination of reasons. I'm not sure if Norsejaelland is actually better than Sparta Moscow but I put them in a higher tier. Except for Basel (who I feel constantly play up to English clubs) and Benfica the rest were rated lower. So here is a breakdown of the teams. I added our record against them just for fun. The teams highlighted in blue are the ones I felt we got good results out of and the ones in red are the teams that I feel we should've done better against.
So now that we have that let me post this very difficult to see picture of the scoring breakdown.
For those of you with eagle eyes (or the zoom function on your computer) this is very telling in terms of goal outputs. Lets look at what this tells us (or proves since most of us knew these facts but didn't have the concrete stats to back it up).
"Please God make me more like this guy."
1.) Torres feasts off of weaker competition and shrinks against the bigger ones: Every Chelsea fan has had their displeasure of Torres met with talk about his high goal tally. And any fan who has watched a majority of their games has replied with a version of "Most of his goals are against the lesser opponents." Usually a naughty word or two is placed in that sentence as us fans are exasperated by this constant back and forth but we have no real stats to stand on. Well here it is, Mr. Torres has scored a ridiculous 82% of his goals this year against teams located in the bottom 2 tiers. The next 2 highest offensive players are Moses at 60% and Juan at 61%. The difference between Juan and Torres in this is that Juan scored 33% of his goals against teams in Tier 1 while 'Nando only hit 9% of his against teams of that level. It takes him almost 9 games to get a goal vs top competition while he's averaging a goal every 2 appearances against teams in Tier 3. While both of his goals in Tier 1 have grabbed Chelsea more points, he's had 7 point changing goals in Tier 3.
This little twit
2.) We actually perform better against teams in the top tier than teams in tier 2: This has been mentioned in a previous article about our performance against the top and bottom but in terms of getting goals, its the teams in the middle of the league that give us problems. We average 1.5 goals per game against top teams but teams in Tier 2 is at 1.3125 which is the lowest that we recorded. In fact Torres is our only goal scorer who has higher than 6 appearances per goal in Tier 1. Then we see the drop off for everyone except Ramires, Moses and Oscar, the later two reaping the benefits of their impressive European scoring record.
"Yes I'm in the article."
3.) Juan: Goodness we got ourselves a wonderful little hobbit. He's our leader in point changing goals amongst the top clubs (as we all know) and I get the feeling if we add assists to it his lead will grow.
There is more you can get from this but I'm growing tired of all this writting so here are some gifs to make you smile.