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How good have Chelsea been in the Premier League in the 21st century?

We ain’t got no ... history?

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

I was putting in some season level data into a table, mainly result tables over the years for each of the top 5 leagues of Europe, and I thought I’d take a quick peek at how well the different top clubs have done over the recent years. The data I was grabbing went back to 1999-2000, so a good 19 years. The Roman Era, plus the lead-up to it. I found a few interesting things in that data. I’ve included the current season as well.

First, some criteria - It’s simple. The top 30 teams by average rank that played at 17 of the 19 seasons. This only really excluded RBL and Napoli. And I felt that was okay, because I wanted long term teams. We are talking about history, after all. And it’s interesting seeing some of the teams in this list. It almost feels like we are getting to rub shoulders at a shindig put on for “real” clubs, right? A bit of royalty, or something.

These are the clubs that made the cut, along with their current table rank this season:

I found it almost amusing that both the Premier League and La Liga have the same top 6 both now and historically. The Rich Get Richer, as they say. In the other three leagues, it’s that way for the most part but a few clubs have fallen on hard times recently it seems.

So how do Chelsea look, when compared to the so-called Royalty of Europe, over the last 19 seasons in league play?

  • Chelsea has the third highest average table rank among the Premier League clubs, right behind both Manchester United and Arsenal. And 8th overall in the top 5 leagues of Europe. We are at 3.32.
  • Chelsea have the sixth highest goals scored per match average with an average of 1.85. Again, slightly behind Manchester United and Arsenal. But not by much.
  • Chelsea have the third best goals against among the top clubs of Europe, with an average of 0.86. Fantastic, this.
  • Chelsea have the sixth highest Goal Differential, at 0.98. Only Manchester United is higher among the Premier League clubs.

One really interesting item from the overall table, is when you look at the delta (differential) column. Only (5) teams are over one goal up, and two more at 0.98 and 0.91 (Chelsea and Arsenal, respectively) and everyone else drops quickly. It’s a real testament to how dominant we’ve been in league play over the last 19 seasons.

Here’s the full table to take a look at, sorted by Average Rank, if you are interested in seeing it all at once.

Keep in mind that the Bundesliga has only 18 teams, and that I believe both La Liga and Ligue 1 were down to 18 at some prior point of the oldest sets of data I included. This means things are a bit off like total points and wins, etc. which is why I didn’t focus on them. You’d want to normalize to the number of included matches probably to effectively gauge those values.

I’d like to try to hunt down all of the Champion’s League data next, to see where we stand there, as we’ve been in it for all but two of the last twenty or so years. I really want to know if we truly Ain’t Got No History in Europe, either. Maybe in another installment.

Comments? Thoughts?

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