How Chelsea have outshone the rest - the stats behind their remarkable EPL season


Chelsea, top of the Premier League since mid-November, have long had the title in their own hands. It has been their league to lose for almost the entirety of the season and they have held off the (relatively tame) challenges from elsewhere to sit on the brink another league title in Antonio Conte's first season in England.


Despite some claims that Tottenham have been the most entertaining team to watch, Chelsea have been in control from very early on and will make fully deserving champions.
They have dominated all over the pitch, built on the solid foundations of a switch to three at the back that was inspired by a collapse at Arsenal in September, and fired by a lethal attacking trio of Diego Costa, Pedro and the back-to-form and once again irrepressible Eden Hazard.
The difference between Chelsea before and after that match at the Emirates last autumn has been stark: they transformed from a meek team with a leaky defence to a group of winners, on an unrelenting assault to the top of the league.

A record-breaking 13 consecutive wins later and the title was going nowhere else.The switch to 3-4-3 has provided a convenient backdrop to their superiority, but Chelsea's success has come from so much more than a system that fits the players in the squad. Those players have acted out Conte's plan to perfection.
Chelsea have scored more goals than any other team in the Premier League this season, with 75, with an impressive variety to their attacks.
They have scored more goals from outside the box than everyone else, with 12, while only Manchester City have scored more from inside the area than Chelsea's 63.
Then, despite having a larger share of possession than their opponents in the majority of their matches, Chelsea have still scored the most counter-attacking goals in the Premier League this season, with six (alongside City). Spurs were the victims of their devastating threat on the break in the recent FA Cup semi-final victory at Wembley.

They have been ruthlessly efficient at both ends of the field, but in attack that has been most stark: they are the Premier League's top scorers despite four teams having had significantly more shots.
Chelsea have been absolutely lethal in front of goal, scoring with more than one in every five of their efforts - giving them an incredible shot conversion rate of 20.1 per cent.
They have given themselves little work in terms of overturning scorelines, with more goals in the opening 15 minutes of games than any other team, with 11, while they have dropped only nine points from winning positions.
Meanwhile, with Hazard and Pedro leading the way, Chelsea's players have completed more dribbles than any other team, while maintaining the second best dribble success rate, at 60.8 per cent.

At the other end, too, Conte's men have been the best side in the division, conceding just 29 goals from 300 shots, while allowing their opponents a league-low 95 shots on target.
That is, with Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kante marshalling midfield and screening a back three of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta - arguably the biggest beneficiaries of the change in formation - Chelsea have conceded just 2.7 shots on target per game, and with as able a goalkeeper as Thibaut Courtois between the sticks, the result has been just 29 in the 'goals against' column - the third fewest in the division. 

Conte has been the master of game management, too, as the only manager to use all three available substitutes in every one of his matches. The result has been just four goals conceded in the final 15 minutes of matches - also the lowest in the league - and fewer injuries suffered than any of Chelsea's title rivals.
Given where they were six games into the season - eighth in the table and eight points off the lead, if you were wondering - it is truly astonishing that Chelsea are on the cusp of comfortably winning the title.
They have been the best team in the country, though, with Conte creating a well-oiled machine that functions effectively and efficiently, seeing off every challenge that has come their way. It has been Chelsea's title for a long time, and it will be for a while longer yet.
Source: All Football

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