THE DATA DAY: CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL
We had to come from behind to record our first league victory over Liverpool since May 2010, with the statistics suggesting the three points were more than merited…
Over the course of the 90 minutes, we achieved better numbers than our opponents in a number of key areas -attempts on goal, passes, possession, territory, take-ons and corners. Defensively we were strong too, evidenced by the greater number of ball recoveries, interceptions and blocks we managed.
Perhaps most tellingly were the number of passes we completed in the final third of the pitch, 85 in total, and almost 40 more than Liverpool.
Of the top eight passers on the pitch, six were wearing blue. That number includes Frank Lampard, who despite only playing the first half still found time to complete 29 passes.
The victory owed a great deal to both the skill and the hard work of the trio operating behind Samuel Eto'o, and later Fernando Torres. In the attacking third of the pitch, Willian, Oscar and Eden Hazard passed the ball more times than anyone else. Oscar picked out Hazard on 10 occasions, the second most frequent pass combination on the pitch.
The triumvirate's defensive work was admirable as well. Willian recovered the ball more often than any other player, and he was joined in the top four for that category by both Oscar and Hazard. Meanwhile, the two Brazilians also made more successful tackles than any other player in blue, winning the ball back four times.
Willian's all-action performance included four successful take-ons - bettered only by Liverpool's Raheem Sterling - and he committed six fouls as well, twice as many as any other player.
Hazard, meanwhile, was fouled six times, comfortably more than anyone else, while Oscar won seven of the 14 aerial duels he went up for, by some distance a game-high figure.
Our last four games at Stamford Bridge have yielded a total of eight goals, all scored in the first half. With the Blues preferring to kick towards the Shed End before the break it is in front of that stand that our last six goals on home turf have been notched, with the Matthew Harding Stand privy to the two goals we have conceded in that time.
Since our 3-0 victory at West Ham in November, we have held a two-goal advantage in a match for a combined total of nine minutes. A late Demba Ba goal against Southampton put us 3-1 ahead at the beginning of this month, while in the following game, at Sunderland, we briefly led 4-2.
Chelsea have now gained 14 points from losing positions this season, the most in the Premier League.
The victory ensures we will go at least a whole year unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in the league. Since our defeat to QPR on the second day of 2013, we have won 16 of our 19 Premier League games, drawing the other three.