Chelsea‘s 5-0 win at Everton put them temporarily top of the Premier League and confirmed them among the title favourites.
While Liverpool did eventually take the top spot from them with Sunday’s 6-1 win over Watford, the Blues still leapfrogged Manchester City and Arsenal and announced themselves as serious contenders rather than top four also-rans.
Credit has to go to Antonio Conte, who has been proactive in sorting out the club’s problems.
Only a few weeks ago the press were reporting that the Italian was facing an uncertain future – ridiculous considering he had only been in the job a few months – after a series of underwhelming results.
Conte responded by changing his team’s formation and now the attack and defence look much better as a result.
Here are the statistics behind the results that show why the Blues can go all the way…
Particularly in the early days of Jose Mourinho, the key to Chelsea’s successes laid in their stubborn defence.
The 2004/05 season saw them concede just 15 goals as the Portuguese won the league in his first campaign while setting a record of 21 clean sheets.
The Blues looked to be struggling at the back this season, however, having conceded nine goals and recorded only one shutout in the opening six games.
Since the change in formation, though, Chelsea have kept five straight clean sheets. Also worth noting is, according to Opta, the Blues haven’t conceded any big chances in that time, as opposed to seven in the first six games.
The standout player in Chelsea’s last title success was Eden Hazard. The Belgian scored 14 goals and assisted nine on the way to the Player of the Year award.
His importance to the team was made clear last year as Chelsea could only finish 10th while the playmaker struggled.
The 25-year-old had a mixed start to the season but has benefitted in his new role, which allows him to drift more into the centre while Marcos Alonso provides the width.
Since the start of October, he has averaged 2.4 shots in the box with 69% accuracy as opposed to 1.8 shots and 57% accuracy previously.
While their defensive prowess has been highlighted, Chelsea’s attack has, arguably, gone under the radar.
This is, after all, a side that managed to put four goals past Manchester United and five past Everton.
Part of the reason is that the Blues seem more confident when taking the game to their opponents.
Prior to Conte’s tactical masterstroke Chelsea were successful in 50% of their take-ons. In the last five games, however, that has risen to 63%, suggesting that the Blues are more eager to make things happen.