Probably the biggest story of this season so far has been how Chelsea is underachieving. As of today they’ve earned 11 points through 9 games, and sit in 12th place in the league table, falling about 7 points below my model’s expectations (which put them in second place at the beginning of the season).
They’re the second biggest outlier in my model, only slightly out-performing Sunderland so far. My predictions still have them likely finishing in the top 4, and this week’s performance consolidated that position a little bit1.
But can Chelsea turn it around? I look at the next four games to see what we’d expect from Chelsea and what their chances are of catching up to expectations.
In their next four games, Chelsea can expect to earn 7.84 points. They’re big favorites in the two home games (against Liverpool and Norwich City), but are only slight favorites in the two away matches (against West Ham and Stoke City). I know Chelsea’s form has been bad this season, but you’d still expect them to beat Stoke City fairly easily and…well who knows when West Ham is going to come back down to earth? If they win both of those games, they’d have 6 points right there, and a win at home against Norwich City would bring them to 9. Right there they’d be 1.16 points above expectation, and if they could beat Liverpool at home they’d be a full 4.16 points over the expectation. That would cut their deficit by more than half, bringing them more in line with the pre-season predictions that made them title contenders.
Four wins in four games seems out of Chelsea’s range right now, but I think they have to turn things around eventually. If they can do it now, they can get right back into the thick of things and maybe mount at nominal title challenge.
- They were helped out by a draw between Liverpool and Spurs, their other main competitors for that last Champions League spot ↩