EPL has begun unexpectedly. Clearly, the favorites of majority from footballing world, Chelsea, have slumped right at the start. While Manchester City flies high, the other biggies Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are trembling to find form. Here is a list of 8 statistics about these big 5 EPL sides from the opening 4 games.
1. Arsenal strikeforce produce consistently more attempts with very less yield
Gunners, with a minimum of 19 attempts per game, have the record for most shots among the big 5 EPL clubs. Though they test opponenta s goalkeepers fairly well with 33% on-target shots, they mostly fail to outsmart them leading to just an 11% goal conversion on the on-target shots (a mere 3.6% of their attempts yielded a goal). Alexis SA?nchez with an average of 5 shots/game, no goals & assists and Olivier Giroud with an average of 4 shots/game, 1 goal & no assists are the 2 key players who could improve their finishing.
2. Only silver lining in Chelseaa s poor performance is their clinical on-target strikes
Blues were very inconsistent in the shots attempted (Minimum of 10 and maximum of 26 shots). But, their results arena t. Even with 26 shots against Crystal Palace, they lost 2-1 on Jos Mourinhoa s 100th Premier League game. The only silver lining to the saddened fans is that their goal conversion ratio (30%) is quite good compared to Arsenal (11%), Liverpool (14%) and Manchester United (20%). A majority of their existing players have lost their shine. Chelseaa s top performer, the newcomer, Pedro has scored 1 and assisted 1 in just 2 games while topping the team in terms of shots per game (3.5 shots per game).
3. Liverpoola s aim on target is way too bad for a top side
Reds had lower shots on target than the other big 5 EPL clubs. With such low shots on target, they did not trouble the opponents much as well. 43% of their shots are off the target. They have mastered wayward or desperate strikes. They were not working opponentsa goalkeepers enough. Their only goal scorers Christian Benteke (1 goal from 10 shots) and Philippe Coutinho (1 goal from 18 shots) had shot 28 shots to just convert 2 goals.
4. Manchester City are the best shooters on target by a large difference
Cityzens have been the most dominant side in EPL this season. They have shot an average of 18 shots per game (second to Arsenal). They have put 40% of them on target which shows high strike accuracy. No other club could come close to that one. The wealth of players like Sergio AgA?ero, Yaya Tour , David Silva, Raheem Sterling and more bombard and shatter their defense. Couple this with a 34% goal conversion ratio a you have a chance to witness how a hands-down-dominant-team would play. They have scored 10 goals so far which is more than the combined goal tally of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Clearly, City will be the team to watch this season as against a majority of the bookkeepersa prediction, the Pensioners.
5. Chelseaa s opponents have been running rampage over their defense
Last season, teams would be worried with a fixture to Stamford Bridge. This year, it changed. Forwards and Midfielders love getting on against Bluesa shaken defense. In fact, the Champions have conceded the second most number of goals in the league overall. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic were too old. Once a shield, Nemanja Matic was barely in action. With a horrendous defense, they are the only big 5 clubs to have conceded more shots (63) than how many they shot (62).
6. Courtois, Begovic and A?ech were left to shield the goal on their own
Defense is responsible to block opponenta s efforts to safeguard goalkeeper. But Chelsea and Arsenal defenders forgot it and left the goalkeepers to fight for their glory alone. Unfortunately, Arsenal could not play their main center backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. But Chelseaa s mistakes are unforgivable. Their defense have exposed Courtois and Begovic so much than any other big 5 team. Citya s defensive wall Vincent Kompany and Mangala have proved their worth by blocking 68% of the shots that came towards goal.
7. A?ech and Hart did a good job among the big clubsa goalkeepers
Though he was only tested 6 times in 4 games, Joe Hart should be appreciated for keeping 4 clean sheets in 4 games. Among the rest, Petr A?ech did the best by letting in only 19% (~1 goal conceded in 5 shots on target) of shots that came his way. Chelseaa s Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic who were left unguarded by their shattered defense, were clearly the poor performing goalkeepers among the big club counterparts. They have conceded 30% of the shots that were fired at them.
8. Liverpool have an unpredictable and poor passing strategy
The usual story is Arsenal’s perfect passing game. Manchester City though has not been as consistent as Arsenal, managed to better them on average. Chelsea is the most consistent (though below average) with variance as little as 4% in their passing accuracy. Liverpoola s passing accuracy wilderness shows that they will play more direct games rather than try to control them.
Manchester City has clearly outsmarted the other big clubs in EPL in almost every aspect – shooting, shooting accuracy, scoring, blocking, keeping clean sheets and most of all winning like a master. It will take enormous effort from the other teams to catch up with the Cityzens.