Stats analyst Andrew Atherley points to Chelsea’s excellent shutout record ahead of Sunday’s match against Southampton…
The Premier League programme looks tricky this weekend but Chelsea are as solid as ever and they appeal at odds-against to achieve one of Jose Mourinho’s favourite results.
The bet is a Chelsea win to nil at 2.55n/a in Sunday’s home match against Southampton and there are grounds for believing the league leaders should be shorter odds.
One of Mourinho’s priorities on his return to Chelsea was to make Stamford Bridge a fortress once again and, after a few early problems, he has achieved his aim.
Since the end of the January transfer window last season, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in 15 of their 20 home league matches. That was the foundation stone for improvement in the second half of last season and then a title push once Mourinho had all the bricks in place for the new campaign.
Mourinho trusts both his style of play and the team he has assembled to produce goals (only two failures to score in 32 home league games since his return) and that makes him confident of victory as long as his side remain secure at the back.
Chelsea have won 16 of those last 20 home league games since the end of January 2014, and 14 of the wins have been to nil.
That makes a win to nil well worth considering in every Chelsea home game, even against a team as good as Southampton. Having drawn 1-1 in the reverse fixture at St Mary’s in December, Ronald Koeman’s side are clearly good enough to score at Stamford Bridge but their figures are not compelling in this type of fixture.
The Saints have scored just six goals in nine matches against the six teams currently above them in the table, with four blanks (two of the failures to score have been in four away games in that category).
That makes them the lowest-scoring side in the mini-league of the top seven and they sit bottom of that table, with six defeats out of nine (four of them to nil).
Chelsea, by contrast, are the only team to have scored in every match in that mini-league, even though the fixture list has been heavily weighted towards playing their most difficult away matches in the earlier part of the season.
Sunday’s match is only Chelsea’s fourth at home against a top-seven side (every team apart from Manchester United has played more) but it is notable that two of the previous three were won to nil (the exception was the 1-1 against Manchester City, their strongest opponent).
Chelsea kept clean sheets in both games missed through suspension by Nemanja Matic, their key defensive midfielder, but it is a positive that he is able to return against Southampton (having had his suspension reduced from three games to two on appeal).
It is notable that Chelsea’s increased number of clean sheets has followed Matic’s return to the club, with 15 shutouts in the 20 league games he has started at Stamford Bridge (one of the failures came after he was dismissed against Burnley in the last home match).
With Matic in the starting line-up, Chelsea have won 16 out of 20 at home and 14 of the victories have been to nil.
The figures are in Chelsea’s favour and the odds outweigh the risk that Southampton might score.
Back Chelsea Win to Nil against Southampton at 2.55n/a (1pt)
Staked: 64 pts
Returned: 66.62 pts
P/L: +2.62 pts