In the 5th in our series of reviews of Premier League team’s shooting tendencies we’ll move the spotlight onto Chelsea. The Stamford Bridge outfit are very well placed in third position just two points behind Arsenal.
Chelsea’s Shot Charts
If you require an explanation of the zones used in these images please scroll down to the bottom of this article. Otherwise we’ll jump straight into their charts.
Only Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham have shot more often and the proportion of shots they take from Prime Areas are better than average whilst falling short of the excellent numbers Man City and Arsenal have posted.
One interesting attacking wrinkle is that when Chelsea shoot from outside the penalty area the shots are much more likely to come from the left side than the right. Certainly, the difference in shots attempted from the two sides is more pronounced for Chelsea than any of the other leading teams – a quick glance back to the Shot Charts of the other leading teams in this review series (all linked at the bottom of this article for convenience) confirm this fact.
Is there any reason for this?
As shots from that side of the pitch suit right footed players do Chelsea have a higher proportion of right footed attackers than other teams? Do they build most of their attack down the left side? At this stage of my team mid term reviews I am pretty close to reaching data analysis overload so I haven’t investigated either of those synopsis just yet, but it would definitely be interesting to know the reason why Chelsea strongly favour the left side once they are shooting from outside the penalty area.
Many of Chelseas’s attacking players have chipped in with shots from this left side outside the area with Hazard, Schürrle and Oscar being most prominent – the shots haven’t just been concentrated on one player.
Defensively, it may be a surprise to see that 42% of the shots Chelsea allow are from Prime positions. Just Tottenham and Fulham have fared worse than Chelsea, both posting figures of 43%. On the plus side however, Chelsea has conceded the fewest shots in the league after the opening 20 games.
What is the reason for the concession of such a high proportion of close in chances?
I know that in the games against the other leading title contenders Mourinho has tended to send his team out very conservatively and has seemed to settle for a draw. In fact the only two games where Chelsea’s ExpG value was less than 1.00 was in the away games at Old Trafford and The Emirates.
However, I would suggest than in other games where Chelsea should be too good for the opposition there is a desire to control possession and take the game to the opposition. This could be the reason why so many of the shots they concede are from good spots. Teams that incorporate this style tend to succeed in restricting shots, but when their defences are breached the opposition are be able to work into better positions before taking a shot.
The one other factor that will have contributed to such a high proportion of opposition shots coming from the Prime zone is that a large proportion of Chelsea’s shots against are actually headers. The table below sets out the proportion of shots against each team that have come from headers:
Chelsea sits in 3rd place in this table with almost 20% of their shots against coming from headers. As we know by now headers are scored less often than kicked shots, but will also tend to be taken from the Prime zone – thus “artificially” inflating the numbers in this area.
This is probably the reason why although the Blues allow the 3rd highest proportion of shots to come from Prime areas, the quality of their shots conceded is reduced sufficiently that they rank mid table in average shot quality allowed.
This serves as a decent reminder when looking at shot locations to ensure you understand the makeup of the shots as headers do not present the same scoring opportunity as kicked attempts at goal do.
A reminder for any new readers of the zones that the summary box below the plots refer to:
Each team plot has two images. The image on the left reflects the shots (excluding penalties) that the team has taken this season, while the image on the right sets out the shots they have allowed.
The table underneath the image summarizes the shots by zone, and in order to aid comparison the numbers highlighted in yellow are the league averages.