Minutes played in the 2012/13 Premier League
This is every outfield players minutes with starts and sub appearances.
Size of the bubble indicates minutes played, further right means more starts, further north means less subs. If a player is in the NE portion of this chart it is fair to say they were a key component of their team.
Red=Defender. Yellow=Midfielder. Weird Green=Attacking Midfielder/Wide Player. Green=Striker
2355 minutes is the magic 2/3rd of a seasons playing time (assuming games are 93 minutes, which they are not always). Seven players pass that test: Luiz, Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires, Hazard, Mata and Torres. Sounds like the spine of the team?
The defensive positions weren't heavily rotated (Terry's injury didn't help) but we see a little bit of rotation in attacking midfield where Mata and Hazard were king, but Oscar was subbed and a sub a fair few times, Moses was the plug-in player. In midfield (sometimes wide) Ramires was the #1 midfielder with Mikel and Lampard injured at various times. Torres played the majority of the minutes, Ba was underused.
I find Chelsea's player usage chart mighty interesting. Yes, there is a little rotation, but you guys essentially 12 key outfield conrtibutors (over 1500 minutes) 4 guys who played between 800 and 1500 minutes (Terry due to injury, Ba due to January and two prospects) and then 8 players who hardly played, at all.
If you are one of those 8 aforementioned players you are either gone, going, seriously injured or mighty young (Ake). Chelsea could do with a slightly bigger average contribution from this fringe group of players.
An amazing aside to Chelsea's player usage chart is their injury record in the 2012/13 Premier League: It's really really good.
Now, considering Chelsea played, what, close to 60 games this year their injury record is incredibly good and healthy. Take out Romeu and wow, Chelsea's injuries are hovering around 1.2ish per game over the course of the season. Chelsea never even scraped near to league average, this begs the question: why are Chelsea so good at avoiding injuries?
A couple of thoughts; is it just luck, rotation, good sports science? OK, maybe a little of each. Luck is naturally involved, yes rotation was evident and Rafa is known to partake in a little of that, but if it is sports science/injury prevention/physio then Chelsea are doing something very important very well.
Any other reasons/suggestions then please let me know