Chelsea slumped to a frustrating 1 – 0 defeat against Everton at the weekend, despite having the lion’s share of possession and opportunities to score. It leaves them level on points with Manchester United and ManchesterCity after four games, in which time Chelsea have only scored 4 goals – none of which have come from their strikers.
Those 4 goals are two less than what Manchester Untied have scored and half of what Arsenal and ManchesterCity have managed in the same amount of games. With such an array of attacking talent in the team this is certainly an unsatisfactory return, and it is not for lack of chances created.
In total Chelsea have created 50 chances, and with only four of them having been taken that gives Chelsea a team conversion rate of 8%. It gets worse when you include the additional 18 taken that weren’t created by a team mate (rather by individuality) which brings the team conversion rate down to 5.8% (4 goals from 68 shots).
Meanwhile, Arsenal have scored 8 goals from 47 chances with a 17% chance conversion, Manchester City 8 from 49 (16.3%), and Manchester United 6 from 40 (15%). So there is the evidence of where Chelsea’s troubles lie; after all, Chelsea have only conceded twice.
At this point it is worth establishing that there can be no final judgement on the Cameroon international after one game, and that this is not what the article is about. It is simply interesting to analyse the early signs and see if there are any obvious differences between Eto’o, and Torres and Ba.
First, there is the obvious fact that Eto’o didn’t score, and while a striker can’t be expected to score in every game, there is still the fact that Eto’o missed two clear-cut scoring opportunities. One of those two was, more-or-less, an open goal, and he missed a further four times from scoring opportunities.
It’s not all doom and gloom for him though, and the simple fact that Eto’o had 6 shots should not be over-looked. Taking this game by itself, Eto’o had a shot every 15 minutes.
That is a very significant stat when you consider that Torres averaged a shot every 49 minutes last season, and so far this season is averaging one every 63 minutes. Similarly, Ba is only averaging 1 shot every 65 minutes this season (having had just one shot in 65 minutes against Aston Villa).
Eto’o may not have scored in this game, but when you have a striker who manages to shoot every 15 minutes, compared to another two who average a single shot every hour, you will always select the former. Moreover, all of the world’s top goals scorers will have the common statistic of shooting more than other players, and many of them won’t even have respectable conversion rates. This won’t matter however because if a player is shooting much more than most then he is far more likely to score more goals. Obviously.
So Chelsea can draw confidence from the fact that at least Eto’o seemed to create his own opportunities, find himself in goal scoring positions, and most of all, back himself to take the shot.
At this point there is little more that can be taken out of one performance. He wasn’t clinical, although the whole team has been similarly wasteful throughout the first four games. The optimists among us can put it down to him being rusty and take confidence from the number of shots he managed to take. The pessimists will say that a striker is judged on his goals, and that the 6 shots per game mean nothing if they are not scored.
For me, there may not have been an end product, but there certainly was danger.