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Michael Essien and John Terry Ready to Play Against Everton

Getty Images for Chelsea FC

Chelsea are in a bad place, having won just four points out of their last possible 15. Fortunately, some of the big guns are returning - John Terry is back to whatever level of fitness he wants to pretend is 100%, and Michael Essien has overcome the dual problems of a toe injury and a three-match ban for a stamp on Clint Dempsey. There are still some notable absences in the form of Yuri Zhirkov, Frank Lampard, and Alex.

With Chelsea taking a battering over the past month, which seems to me primarily to do with injuries, I thought it might be interesting to see how well Chelsea have played with certain players in the lineup, based on percentage of points won per start. Here are the results (I can't imagine they'll surprise anyone):

Figure 1: Percentage of points earned out of possible points for starters. Width of bar indicates number of games started, and color indicates above or below Chelsea average of 65.4%. Powered by Tableau.

In other words having Essien and Terry back is probably a good thing! Essien's immediate replacement, Brazilian midfielder Ramires, has been the team's worst regular start by this metric (which hasn't been neutralised for strength of opposition so there are some caveats), and Chelsea tend to do much better with Terry around than with a non-Terry centreback pairing. Let's hope those two can stick around for a while as the Blues try to reestablish their form in December. Having Lampard back will presumably help a lot as well, although not much can be said about his tiny sample of three games played, three won.

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