All in all it has not been a good first three weeks for Chelsea.
“Maybe, when my grandsons play, football will be a game without goals and we’ll just enjoy people passing the ball”. However some of the trends that have emerged from these opening matches are more than slightly concerning.
Fast forward to the current transfer window and Chelsea’s spend of £58million, a modest sum compared to the last two summers, hasn’t convinced everybody.
Watford will be in the familiar position of having Miguel Britos suspended when they take on Manchester City on Saturday.
Another advanced statistic that can give us a better insight into a team’s underlying performance level is Expected Goals (ExpG).
The Swans’ attack has made a much more energetic start to the season than United’s, hitting 23 shots on target: over twice their visitors’ meagre tally of 11. For example if a shot has a 30 percent chance of being scored it is worth 0.3 ExpG. Last time out Eddie Howe’s men were involved in a seven-goal thriller against West Ham and it resulted in the Cherries picking up a historic first-ever win in the Premier League.
Otamendi’s price tag, which could rise to £32 million with add-ons, makes him the second-most expensive central defender in Premier League history, and yet there is no guarantee he will start. Such a result will point to early season crisis at Southampton, who can not afford another poor outing.
The 34-year-old Terry has endured a miserable start to Chelsea’s title defence: Substituted at halftime against Manchester City.
Manchester City couldn’t have asked for an easier fixture heading into the worldwide break, and will look to keep their momentum going amid rumours there might be changes in personnel with Tuesday’s transfer deadline day looming. Nothing fake about it. But the slew of upsets this season – West Ham winning at the Emirates with a 16-year-old in midfield, Newcastle holding Manchester United at Old Trafford and Swansea outplaying champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – suggest something more fundamental.
Here are a few of the things we should be keeping an eye on this weekend. Pedro has arguably been the catalyst for the slight rejuvenation, and in the driving rain in the West Midlands, it was the Spaniard who was the driving force behind the Blues, as he picked up an assist and a goal on his debut.
The game did not need 65 passes to get from the halfway line to the opposition penalty area, as is so often the case, especially in the Premier League.
Mueller has five goals in the first three matches of the season – and 76 in the league for his career. For a Barcelona player these aren’t stand-out numbers by any means, but then again it is very hard to stand out at Barcelona.
“We are delighted to have him on board”.
Premier League teams that recognise their inferior ability – and the disadvantages that come with playing away – are taking note, and turning “home advantage” into a myth.
Last season, Jose Mourinho bemoaned the modern obsession with possession, after his side were criticised for shutting up shop in a goalless draw at Arsenal that effectively clinched the title.
Sam Gregory is soccer analytics writer based in London. However, they’ve added a solid attacking player in Pedro and are still in pursuit of another major defensive addition in the shape of John Stones.