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October 5, 2015

Who's to Blame for Chelsea's Worst Start in 37 Years?

To say the start to Chelsea’s season has been a debacle would be a massive understatement. From an outsider, it seems fairly clear that Jose Mourinho has lost the dressing room. He even got the kiss of death today when the club released a statement giving him a vote of confidence.

It’s been interesting watch it unfold from this side of the pond. Mourinho is a media darling, even getting away without punishment from the FA and the club for his treatment of team doctor Eva Carneiro. After every loss he pushes the blame on someone other than himself. It’s likely only a matter of one more loss before he gets the sack.

Given all of Mourinho’s shortcomings as a manager this year, the ultimate proof comes in the form of his players’ performances on the pitch. So far this season, those performances have been downright dreadful. Just how bad has it been? The viz below shows that things are really, really bad.

I looked at three key stats from Player Rating, Pass Completion %, and Aerial Duals Won. I took the data and filtered it down to the outfield players that made contributions both last season and this. I then created the simple analysis below.

Some notes:

  1. Every player has a lower rating this year than last. Particularly in poor form are Terry, Hazard, Costa and Ivanovic.
  2. Some of Chelsea’s most creative players are struggling to connect passes. Are the likes of Ramires, Oscar and Fabregas trying too hard under the pressure perhaps?
  3. Matic has been taking a lot of stick from Mourinho, but his pass completion % is 3.5% better than last year. He’s not being nearly as sloppy with the ball as his midfield counterparts, though if you read the papers you would think it was the opposite.
  4. John Terry is showing his age when it comes to aerial duals. He’s winning less than half as many as last year.

If things don’t turn around in the next fixture against Aston Villa, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Jose got the sack. Why? Because you can’t fire 24 players at once and because Mourinho’s ego is too big to last more than three years at any club.