By now everyone's seen the numbers. Four points clear of first place in the Premier League. Fifteen games unbeaten (longer, if you count the end of last season). A freakish number of goals scored, an acceptable number of goals conceded. All is looking well at Stamford Bridge, and everyone knows it.
But here's a number you might not have thought about: through 15 games, Chelsea have only been behind twice. And not for very long, either. In our first match of the season, against Burnley, we were 1-0 down between minutes 14 and 17; against Swansea at home we were staring at a deficit for much of the first half. And that's it: the Blues have been behind for just 37 minutes out of the 1350 we've played.
That's less than 3 percent of our total time. Meanwhile, we've spent 60 percent of our play with a lead, and 37 percent with the score tied (mostly at 0-0). That definitely looks impressive on the surface, but let's put in context. What are the other sides up to?
I took a quick peek at the rest of the so-called Sky Seven. That's Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, for those not down with the TV slang. Here's what I came up with:
What are these numbers good for? First of all, they're descriptive -- they let you see just how a team's been playing. The score of a match has a direct impact on what a team wants to do. We haven't seen Chelsea desperately throw bodies forward to overcome a deficit late in the game, for example, because we haven't faced that situation. And we've been disproportionately defending leads compared to everyone else, which makes it slightly less surprising that we've blown a few.
There are a number of problems with this as analysis (strength of schedule being the most important), so we're not going to use it as analysis. Instead, treat it as a snapshot of just how strongly we've started the season. We might have dropped an unfortunate point or two along the way; we might have had an uncomfortable win or two, but ultimately, for a 15-match span, it's difficult to ask for too much more. Compared to our theoretical peers, we've been dominating matches.
Oh, and it would be rude not to mention party-crashers Southampton. Let's see what they're up to:
Again, schedule needs to be taken into account, but Ronald Koeman and friends are making a lot of people look very silly right now. Which is great.