Stats: Is Harry Kane on track to beat last season’s Premier League goal haul?

Today we explore if Harry Kane is on track to top his Premier League goal tally of 21 from the 2014/15 season in the final nine games of the current campaign… 

Tottenham Hotspur are chasing their first domestic league title since the 1960/61 season. They are currently in second place, five points behind leaders Leicester City. To stand the best chance of winning the title, they will need their key players on form for the remaining nine games of the season.

And one man who will need to carry his side through the final stages is Harry Kane. The English forward has played a pivotal role in a vast amount of games again this season, including his stunning strike in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal last weekend – but is he going to better last season’s tally of 21 Premier League goals in the remaining fixtures?

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Below are his standout offensive statistics from the current Premier League season, compared to his figures from 2014/15 campaign.

 Harry Kane Apps Goals Shot Acc Strike Rate Shots Per Game Minutes Per Goal Mins Played
2015/16 29 17 63% 0.58 4 150 2561
2014/15 34 21 58% 0.61 3.3 123 2582

Table: Harry Kane’s attacking statistics over the last two Premier League seasons (statistics provided by Squawka).

As we can see Kane netted 21 goals in 34 appearances last season, compared to his total of 17 in 29 so far in 2015/16. He has improved his shot accuracy by five percent but his strike rate has marginally dropped.

Kane is averaging four shots per game, which is an increase of 0.7 from the 14/15 campaign but his minutes-per-goal ratio has increased by 27 minutes over the past year, meaning goals are coming less frequently for the 22-year-old Spurs star.

He has played almost the same number of minutes (2561) in his 29 appearances this season compared to 34 appearances (2582) from the 14/15 campaign and will continue to be relied upon through the final stages of the campaign.

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With those statistics in mind, Kane would fail to reach a higher amount of goals by the time he reaches 34 games. He will hypothetically only find the net three times in his next five appearances, based on his current goal output figures.

But it must be noted that, providing Kane stays injury-free until the end of the season, he has nine games left in the Premier League. If he features in all nine – which is more than likely – he will have made four more appearances than in the 14/15 season and would have played in every Premier League game this term.

With the remaining nine outings offering 810 minutes at the very least, Kane’s output of 150 minutes-per-goal would see him find the net at least five more times.

So with that in mind, Kane’s overall tally this season should approach the 22 goal mark, going one better than he manager last year.

Can Harry Kane fire Tottenham to the Premier League title? Will he beat his tally of 21 Premier League goals from last season?

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MLS Opening Weekend: 30 interesting stats from Sunday’s ten games

The opening weekend of the 2016 Major League Soccer season is upon us, so here is a look at a few stats to be aware of ahead of what should be an excellent evening of MLS action.

Sunday 6th March

New York Red Bulls vs Toronto FC – (18:30 GMT)

  • New York Red Bulls are unbeaten against Toronto FC in their last eight home matches against the Canadian side.
  • Including the playoffs, New York Red Bulls have won 11 of their last 12 at Red Bull Arena.
  • On the other hand, Toronto FC haven’t won on the road in MLS since 4th July, a total of nine away fixtures.

For more information read our New York Red Bulls vs Toronto FC Match Preview.

New York Red Bulls vs. DC United

Orlando City vs Real Salt Lake – (19:00 GMT)

  • Orlando City finished the 2015 MLS Season on a six-game unbeaten streak, with four wins and two draws.
  • Real Salt Lake finished the 2015 MLS season on a three-game losing streak, managing just one goal in the process.
  • However, Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in six consecutive MLS opening games, with five wins and one draw.

For more information read our Orlando City vs Real Salt Lake Match Preview.

Chicago Fire vs New York City FC – (19:00 GMT) – Live on Sky Sports 1

  • Chicago Fire lost seven of their last eight matches in the 2015 season, winning the other.
  • New York City FC won only once in their last eight away games of last season, losing six of them.
  • Chicago haven’t won on the opening day for the last six seasons, as they’be endured four losses and two draws.

For more information read our Chicago Fire vs New York City FC Match Preview.

FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union – (20:00 GMT)

  • Philadelphia have never beaten FC Dallas in Major League Soccer.
  • FC Dallas have won four season openers in MLS in a row.
  • FC Dallas won the most matches at home in MLS last season, with a total of 13 out of 17.

For more information read our FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union Match Preview.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Houston Dynamo vs New England Revolution – (20:00 GMT)

  • Houston Dynamo have lost to the New England Revolution on three consecutive occasions – run that started in April 2014.
  • Houston Dynamo have lost just once in their last ten home matches in MLS, with seven wins and two draws.
  • New England Revolution conceded 35 times on the road last season – their worst away defensive record since 1998.

For more information read our Houston Dynamo vs New England Revolution Match Preview.

San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids – (20:00 GMT)

  • San Jose Earthquakes are unbeaten in 12 consecutive matches against the Colorado Rapids, winning six and drawing six.
  • San Jose haven’t conceded at home against the Colorado Rapids since May 2013.
  • Colorado Rapids have lost four of their last five away matches in MLS, winning the other.

For more information read our San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids Match Preview.

Portland Timbers vs Columbus Crew – (21:30 GMT) – Live on Sky Sports 1

  • Including the MLS Cup Final last year, Portland Timbers are unbeaten in their last three matches against Columbus Crew.
  • Including the postseason, Portland Timbers are unbeaten in their last nine consecutive MLS matches, winning six and drawing three.
  • Columbus Crew won five of their last six 2015 MLS regular season games.

For more information read our Portland Timbers vs Columbus Crew Match Preview.

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Vancouver Whitecaps vs Montreal Impact – (22:30 GMT)

  • Vancouver had the joint best defence in Major League Soccer in 2015, conceding only 36 goals.
  • Montreal Impact won their final two matches away from home in the regular season last term but lost nine of the 15 previous road trips.
  • Octavio Rivero was the Whitecaps’ leading goalscorer with ten last season. He is only the fourth player in Whitecaps history to reach double-digits in a single season.

For more information read our Vancouver Whitecaps vs Montreal Impact Match Preview.

Monday 7th March (UK Time)

Seattle Sounders vs Sporting Kansas City – (00:00 GMT)

  • Seattle Sounders haven’t won against Sporting Kansas City in their last three attempts, drawing twice and losing once.
  • At home, Sounders are undefeated in all four MLS matches against Sporting Kansas City, winning twice and drawing twice.
  • Seattle are unbeaten in their last seven MLS outings. They’ve won six of those seven, drawing the other.

For more information read our Seattle Sounders vs Sporting Kansas City Match Preview.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Fans

LA Galaxy vs DC United – (03:00 GMT)

  • DC have only won once in their last eleven matches against LA Galaxy, drawing five and losing the other five.
  • LA are unbeaten in their last eight home matches against DC United, recording four wins and four draws.
  • DC United only managed to score nine away goals in the regular season in 2015 – a league low for the season.

For more information read our LA Galaxy vs DC United Match Preview.

What are you most looking forward to on the opening day of the 2016 MLS season?

From MLS to Premier League, and back again – has Tim Howard still got what it takes?

USA international goalkeeper Tim Howard looks set to join MLS side Colorado Rapids from Everton, according to reports by ESPN FC.

First appearing in MLS in 1998 for MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), Howard then moved to Manchester United in 2003, before signing for Everton in 2007 after a year-long loan spell.

After 13 years of service in the Premier League, he’s finally returning home to the USA for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of $600-750k.

Howard will reportedly sign a contract with the Rapids until 2019, which will see him earn around $2 million per-year.

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It comes after initial reports had indicated that he was after a deal that would have seen him receive an annual salary of $5m.

Either way, he’s about to become the highest-paid goalkeeper in MLS, but the question is, is he really worth it?

Here’s a look at his Premier League stats over the last four seasons:

Tim Howard's Premier League stats since 2012 (via Squawka)

Tim Howard’s Premier League stats since 2012 (via Squawka)

Despite enduring one of his more uncomfortable seasons between the sticks for Everton so far, including losing his place in the side to Joel Robles, Howard has maintained a fairly consistent level of performance.

A closer look at the stats shows that he’s actually performed better in some areas this season than he did in the last campaign, with a higher clean sheet percentage and more saves-per-goal, although he has conceded more goals-per-game.

The 2013/14 season was particularly outstanding, but if you compare this year to 2012/13, his numbers are very similar, so he hasn’t gone downhill over the course of time.

The 36-year-old has been a stalwart for both club and country over the years, making more than 400 appearances for Everton and gaining 106 caps for the US national side, including being part of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads.

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He also made 77 appearances for Manchester United, winning the FA Cup and League Cup during his three-year tenure with the Red Devils.

Verdict: Tim Howard will be an excellent signing for the Colorado Rapids and provides stability, experience and most importantly, top quality goalkeeping. He’s bound to be a hit in MLS and could provide the Rapids with performances that make the difference between winning and losing games.

Howard’s transfer from Everton to Colorado Rapids is expected to go through when the MLS summer transfer window opens in July, meaning he will remain with the Toffees until the end of the Premier League season.

Will Tim Howard be a good signing for Colorado Rapids?

Arsenal looking to beat United and Chelsea to £20m Prem striker – report

Arsenal are looking to bolster their attack this summer and are hoping to lure Watford striker Odion Ighalo to the Emirates if they can beat off competition from Premier League rivals.

Arsene Wenger is reportedly looking to bolster his frontline in the coming months but does not necessarily want to make a ‘superstar’ signing, although Ighalo could cost up to £20 million, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 26-year-old Nigerian striker has been a real success following Watford’s return to the top flight, scoring 14 goals in a fine campaign so far.

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That form has turned heads across Europe, with reports suggesting Manchester United, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are also keeping tabs on the powerful frontman.

Arsenal currently have three options in attack, with Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud all able to lead the Gunners’ attack.

Giroud is currently Wenger’s first-choice but Ighalo has netted two more league goals than the Frenchman this term and could be a surprisingly good addition to the Arsenal squad.

Table: A comparison of Olivier Giroud and Odion Ighalo's key statistics from the 2015/16 Premier League season (via WhoScored.com)

Table: A comparison of Olivier Giroud and Odion Ighalo’s key statistics from the 2015/16 Premier League season (via WhoScored.com)

As the table above shows, Ighalo has registered more shots than Giroud, while also boasting a better strike conversion rate this season.

The Frenchman may have one more assist, but it’s the Watford star who has made more key passes than his fellow Premier League attacker, while also proving to be better when passing to teammates.

Ighalo has four years left on his current Watford contract but the Hornets would reportedly be willing to accept an offer of around £20 million this summer.

Would Odion Ighalo be a good signing for Arsenal?

STATS: Will Brad Davis be a success at Sporting Kansas City?

When the Houston Dynamo announced they had agreed to trade Brad Davis to Sporting Kansas City last week in return for two draft picks, it’s safe to say that plenty of eyebrows were raised.

Davis has spent the last ten seasons with the Dynamo, becoming the club’s all-time leader in games, starts and assists, so his departure will certainly leave a void.

He will undoubtedly strengthen Sporting Kansas City’s squad, even at the age of 34, and will hope to put his previous clashes with the SKC fanbase behind him as he prepares for his 14th consecutive campaign in the league.

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Getting the Sporting KC fans to sing his name will be one of Davis’ first challenges and he will only be able to do that with positive performances on the field.

The 17-time capped USMNT midfielder has registered 122 assists in MLS over the past 13 years – the third-highest total by any player in league history – and is now just 14 behind Landon Donovan’s all-time mark of 136.

He registered ten assists over the course of a mixed 2015 campaign with Houston, making double figures for the seventh time in ten years, and proved he still has a lot to offer in MLS.

Table: Brad Davis' MLS Regular Season statistics with the Houston Dynamo over the past five years (via MLSSoccer.com)

Table: Brad Davis’ MLS Regular Season statistics with the Houston Dynamo over the past five years (via MLSSoccer.com)

As the table above shows, Davis has been a consistently good performer over the past five years. He has scored four goals in four of his last five campaigns and has averaged more than 45 shots per season.

His position has changed over the past couple of years as his legs have lost a yard or two of pace, with Owen Coyle deploying him in an attacking midfield role instead of in his traditional spot out wide, but his production hasn’t dipped.

It will be intriguing to see how Peter Vermes uses him in Kansas City. Davis is unlikely to slot back into a winger role for 25+ games, while slotting in behind Dom Dwyer is also unlikely given Benny Feilhaber’s dominant 2015 campaign in that position.

Table: Benny Feilhaber and Brad Davis' 2015 MLS Regular Season Stats compared. (Stats via WhoScored.com)

Table: Benny Feilhaber and Brad Davis’ 2015 MLS Regular Season Stats compared. (Stats via WhoScored.com)

As a result of Feilhaber’s fine performances last term, Davis may face a battle to cement a regular starting place in Vermes’ side.

There is a chance that Davis will become a prestigious option off the bench for SKC, with his versatility in the final third a major plus for the 2013 MLS Cup winners, but it is difficult to envisage him being given anywhere near the amount of minutes he has received at Houston over the past decade.

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Regardless of how much of a chance he is given, Davis will strengthen SKC’s roster for the 2016 campaign and he brings wealths of MLS experience with him.

But being able to measure his success will depend on the number of starts he is given. Getting a first MLS Cup Playoff appearance for three years is something Davis will expect to get with a Sporting side that has made the postseason for five straight seasons, while a third ever MLS Cup title for Davis is definitely not out of reach.

Do you think Brad Davis will be a success with Sporting Kansas City? 

STATS: Analysing the decline of Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is a man under the spotlight. The Manchester United captain’s performances so far this season have been below his high standards and pressure is mounting on the attacker.

Some have blamed Louis Van Gaal’s philosophies, others claim he is tired, but one thing for sure is that Rooney is not the threat he should be, nor the one Manchester United need him to be.

At 30, few are expecting him to provide the energy he did five years ago. But they are expecting him to provide the spark this United team has lacked at times this season.

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The all-time leading England goalscorer has netted just two Premier League goals in 12 appearances this term. He has made double figures for league goals in each of his 11 seasons at Old Trafford so far but looks unlikely to do that by May.

He is no longer the lead striker, despite starting the season in his traditional position. Summer signings Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial have been brought in to give the United side some pace but Rooney is failing to create chances, let alone score them.

Table: Wayne Rooney's key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

Table: Wayne Rooney’s key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

The table above shows just how bad a campaign the United skipper is having. He has yet to register an assist in the Premier League this year and has registered fewer shots per game than in any of the previous four seasons.

His attacking output in general is nowhere near as effective as it needs to be. His position on the field will not change the fact that he needs to carry the Red Devils’ attack, especially with youngsters such as Jesse Lingard, Martial and Depay looking to him for inspiration.

Graph: Wayne Rooney's attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

Graph: Wayne Rooney’s attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

The graph above shows how bad the drop in form has been for Rooney in recent years. He has registered half the number of shots per game this term compared to four years ago and has seen his goal output drop by nearly 80% over the same period.

Calls are being made for Rooney to be dropped by Van Gaal. The Dutch manager substituted his captain after the hour mark in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leicester and it will be interesting to see how much trust is now going to be placed in the 30-year-old England star.

Manchester United’s title hopes are very much alive. If Rooney can pick back up, those hopes could turn into reality next May.

Why do you think Wayne Rooney is struggling to perform to the levels expected of him this season?

STATS: Is Memphis Depay offering enough to Manchester United?

When Manchester United splashed £25 million on Memphis Depay early in the summer, a sense of genuine excitement filled the air around Old Trafford. The Dutch winger was expected to bring an exciting array of attacking talents to the club but has he offered enough so far? Lewis Addley explores…

Memphis Depay’s incredible form with PSV Eindhoven last season left no real questions as to why Louis Van Gaal wanted to bring his compatriot to Manchester.

The Dutchman netted an impressive 22 domestic goals in 30 appearances in the 2014-15 Eredivisie campaign, but has only shown in glimpses the talent he possesses since his arrival at United.

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Depay has been a relatively quiet member of the United attack so far this season, so let’s have a look at his performances in numbers.

Depay Stats

Depay’s Premier League stats for the 2015/16 season (via Squawka)

The winger has scored just the one goal, has no assists and has created only four chances for his teammates so far this season in the Premier League.

If he was to continue at this current rate he would end the domestic campaign on five goals, without any assists and with just 19 chances created for teammates.

Now, obviously we aren’t suggesting he won’t register an assist over the whole campaign, as this is only based on his performance levels so far. But the statistics would suggest he will endure a difficult first Premier League season nonetheless.

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His shot accuracy of 44% doesn’t differ much from last season’s 47%, where his output was far greater, so no alarm bells are ringing in that department.

He created 60 chances for teammates last season, so has a lot of work to do to close the gap on that number, but it is early doors for Depay and he is playing in a more competitive side in terms of squad selection and arguably against far tougher defences in England.

A quiet first season in the Premier League for a new signing is not uncommon, but given Depay’s ability, more is to be expected from him. If he can produce the same levels as last season he could play a pivotal role in United’s chances of winning the league title this season.

STATS: Was Jose Mourinho wrong to let these seven players leave Chelsea?

Chelsea‘s form has been a huge topic of conversation after each game so far this season for one reason or another, mostly down to below-par performances.

Key players are failing to provide quality in the same way they did last season, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa the subjects of heavy criticism.

Jose Mourinho has let some big names leave the club since his return in 2013, some of whom are enjoying great form in their domestic seasons with other clubs.

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With Chelsea under such pressure at current, it’s difficult not to ask whether some of those names should have been let go, so we took a look at some of those players’ statistics this season.

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 Former Chelsea players’ domestic league stats for the 2015/16 season (via Squawka)

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Petr Cech’s domestic league stats for 2015/16 as a goalkeeper (via Squawka)

Petr Cech comes out on top in terms of win percentage with an impressive 66.6% in the Premier League with Arsenal, which is 41.6% better than Chelsea’s overall win percentage of 25% in the top flight.

Romelu Lukaku, now at Everton, has bagged seven league goals so far this season. Chelsea’s highest individual goalscorer only has two (Diego Costa, Ramires and Willian).

The highest number of assists from those who have departed have come from Lukaku and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne on four. Cesc Fabregas, arguably Chelsea’s most creative player, has just one league assist after 12 games.

And perhaps most staggering is the fact that the highest number of losses suffered domestically out of the seven players is only three, four less than Chelsea’s worrying total of seven so far.

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While we are not suggesting Mourinho’s transfer policy is wrong, it is clear that his squad is lacking in creativity and goals this season. What we must not forget is that out of these seven players only Petr Cech and Andre Schurrle (departed January 2015) were in the Chelsea squad who won the Premier League last season.

But Chelsea fans would be forgiven for looking at the names in the table above and wishing they could bring them back to Stamford Bridge to try and turn the Blues’ campaign around.

STATS: Is Chris Smalling the best centre-back in England?

Former Manchester United defender Gary Pallister has labelled Chris Smalling as the best centre-back in the Premier League after a fine start to the season, helping United to boast the best defensive record in the top flight after 12 games.

Smalling was regularly criticised following his move to Old Trafford from Fulham in 2010 as he struggled to impress in the few starts he was given.

But under Louis Van Gaal’s guidance, the 25-year-old has become one of the most solid defenders in English football and many feel that there is no one better in his position right now. But what do the stats say?

Table: Chris Smalling's 2015/16 statistics compared to some of the best centre-backs in England.

Table: Chris Smalling’s 2015/16 statistics compared to some of the best centre-backs in England.

When comparing Smalling’s statistics to some of the most highly rated defenders in the Premier League, it’s clear he is not the best on English shores.

Vincent Kompany and Laurent Koscielny are viewed by many as two of the finest defenders in Europe, let alone the Premier League and Koscielny, in particular, outshines Smalling in terms of aerial dominance as well as interceptions and blocks.

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John Stones is also held in high esteem by English football fans across the country. He has made more tackles and blocks per game than Smalling so far but is outperformed by his England partner aerially with the United man also making more interceptions and clearances per game.

Then we come to Chancel Mbemba, who is the surprise addition in the comparison above. The Newcastle man doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of the best centre-back in the Premier League but maybe he should be further forward in the thinking process, especially if looking at his statistical performances.

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He outshines Kompany, Stones, Koscielny and Smalling in terms of tackles won per game and has also made more blocks and clearances than any of the other four. In fact, Mbemba has won more tackles in the Premier League than any other central defender after 12 games.

It’s worth noting Mbemba has more defensive work to do than someone like Smalling but perhaps claims that the Manchester United man is the best in his position need to be reconsidered, at least for now.

Do you think Chris Smalling is the best centre-back in the Premier League? Who is better?

STATS: Chelsea projected to battle relegation based on recent history

Chelsea’s problems so far this season have been documented far and wide. Jose Mourinho is under enormous pressure to turn things around after watching his side lose six of their first 11 games in the Premier League.

The Portuguese manager’s job is under threat, according to multiple reports, and there is little wonder when you look at the fate of other Premier League sides that have started with identical records in recent years.

Five sides have started the season with the same record as Chelsea (W3 D2 L6) over the past four campaigns, with three of those going on to suffer relegation by the end of the season.

Table: The last five sides to start with identical league records to Chelsea after 11 games.

Table: The last five sides to start with identical league records to Chelsea after 11 games.

West Bromwich Albion managed to turn their season around despite a poor start in the 2011/12 season as they ended up finishing 10th with 47 points unde Roy Hodgson’s guidance.

However, Wolves struggled badly after an identical start, going on to finish bottom of the table and suffering relegation to the Championship.

Wigan (2012/13) and Norwich (2013/14) also suffered relegation after picking up 11 points from 11 games and so using the word crisis to describe Chelsea’s start is hardly an overreaction.

Table: Finishing position of last five sides to start season with same record as Chelsea

Table: Finishing position of last five sides to start season with same record as Chelsea.

Using these statistics as a guide, it appears as though Chelsea’s problems will only worsen.

Although that’s not accounting for the fact that they’ve got a squad of elite professionals, many of whom lifted the title just six months ago.

Table: Chelsea's projected league finish based on recent history of sides with same starting record.

Table: Chelsea’s projected league finish based on recent history of sides with same starting record.

As the projection above shows, Chelsea look set to end the year in a relegation battle. That’s based on the last five teams’ finishes after starting with the same 11-point record through 11 games.

Finishing on that projected 36-point tally would be Chelsea’s lowest amount accrued in the Premier League era. The last time they picked up fewer points was back in the Football League First Division in the 1978/79 season (20).

Mourinho is in the middle of the biggest challenge of his managerial career and the spotlight is fully fixed on the Blues.

Their next Premier League game comes away at Stoke. Chelsea were eliminated from the League Cup last Wednesday after losing on penalties away at Stoke and so it’s difficult to see them picking up three points.