What has often been forgotten in this Premier League season is that Chelsea’s revival from last seasons’ debacle has been nothing short of miraculous. Sure, the squad has plenty of players who won the league for Jose Mourinho in 2015, but to go from tenth to first in the space of a year is a striking improvement.
When a team wins the title, there are always reasons you can point to which prove that they were the best team, and up until Tottenham Hotspur’s recent winning streak – ended by West Ham United at the London Stadium – there was simply no other side in the league who had any claim to being the best team this season. And even then, it seems as though only sentimentality can place Spurs ahead of Chelsea.
The stats below bear this out.
Tottenham, for example, may have had the most shots in the league this season – in fact, the most in Europe’s top five leagues – but it’s Chelsea who have the best conversion rate in the Premier League. At almost 21%, the Blues don’t spurn chances, and it’s been exactly this kind of efficiency that has led to a league title and a possible double in Antonio Conte’s first season.
Their devastating ability on the counter attack has meant that they have racked up the most dribbles per game in the league this year, too, with Eden Hazard completing four dribbles per game by himself, and attempting over five.
There are two striking stats about this rise to the top, however. Whilst it is true that both Manchester clubs spent more money than Chelsea in the summer transfer window, it was Conte’s Blues who started the most expensive line-up of the season when his side were beaten by Crystal Palace in April.
And yet, despite this, Chelsea have used more players who have come through their own academy than almost every other team in the league. Money is one thing, but it’s hardly everything.
The fact that Chelsea are so high up on all the lists of statistics is thoroughly unsurprising given they won the league. And yet, it also just goes to prove that the best team won the league, despite what people might say about Tottenham’s achievements this season. Spurs did well to finish second. But Chelsea were the best.