Chelsea are closing in on their fourth Premier League title as they lead second-placed Manchester City by six points and also have a game-in-hand on the reigning champions, with nine left to play.
It will come as no surprise that Jose Mourinho‘s side have been the most clinical when it comes to taking chances this season.
Manchester City have scored the most goals with 62 and Chelsea are just one behind on 61, but City have taken 84 more shots than the Blues.
Manuel Pellegrini‘s men have in fact taken the most shots in the league, as shown below in this stats table:
Most clinical Premier League teams in 2014/15 (stats via Squawka)
The numbers show that Chelsea need the least shots out of anyone to score a goal and it takes them an average of 7.38 shots to find the net, while Manchester United are the next most clinical, requiring 7.52 shots-per-goal.
Despite being the highest goalscoring team in the league, Manchester City are only the fifth most clinical as both Arsenal and Tottenham have a better shots-per-goal ratio.
Arsenal have often been criticised for not shooting enough but only Man City have had more efforts than the Gunners.
The Colombian international joined the Blues from Italian side Fiorentina on transfer deadline day in February for £23.3m and has admitted that English football is different.
“Of course I need to adapt to the style, and the pace of the game is quick. There is a quick transition from defending to attacking but I am hoping to adapt as fast as possible. I just need to train hard every day,” he told Chelsea’s official website.
The 26-year-old has yet to score his first goal for Chelsea but has only been used sparingly with just 175 minutes of game time under his belt and is still trying to settle in.
“I am still adapting to life here. I need to learn the language and life is different. Every country has its own culture and the weather is quite cold here, especially compared to Colombia. The people here are nice, life is good and I like the city.
“I always do my best on the pitch. Obviously there is pressure but the important thing is to go on the pitch and play with happiness,” Cuadrado added.
Chelsea are currently six points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a game in hand over the chasing pack.
It remains to be seen how much action Cuadrado can expect in the last nine games but he could become a Premier League winner within his first three months of being at the club – add that to his League Cup winners medal and it isn’t a bad start to life in London.
Will Juan Cuadrado be an important player for Chelsea next season?
Arsenal successfully survived a second-half onslaught by Newcastle yesterday afternoon to come away with all three points in a 2-1 win that saw the Gunners display yet more steel and determination – something they have been criticised for lacking so many times in the past.
Arsene Wenger‘s side have managed to grind out results in the past few months and some of the credit has been directed towards French midfielder Francis Coquelin who has been praised for his performances since becoming a first-team regular in December.
The 23-year-old has given Arsenal a sense of stability that has enabled them to win ten of the 12 games in which he has started in the Premier League, giving them a win percentage of 83% when he plays, compared to just 44% when he doesn’t.
Arsenal’s 2014/15 Premier League stats when Coquelin starts compared to when he doesn’t
Every time a new transfer window approaches, fans and the media are crying out for Arsenal to bring in a strong defensive midfielder to add physical presence in the centre of the field and give the back line some protection.
Many will point to Nemanja Matic at Chelsea as the ideal type of player that Arsenal could use and it has already been well documented as to how important Matic is to the Blues, both physically and statistically as their results have suffered when he doesn’t play.
But do Arsenal really need to sign another defensive midfielder? Matic is regarded as one of the best in the business at that holding role – the same position Coquelin plays. So how do the two compare?
Average performance per-game in the 2014/2015 Premier League Season so far (Stats via Squawka)
The stats show that Coquelin is in-fact slightly more effective than Nemanja Matic defensively with more tackles, blocks, interceptions, clearances and aerial duels won per-game.
However, Matic has a stronger attacking intent with more key passes, chances created and assists, as well as a better pass completion ratio.
And this is where most will say that despite his superior defensive performance, Coquelin hasn’t quite mastered his all round game in the way Matic has, which is why he may possibly not be considered the missing piece of the jigsaw for Arsenal.
Whether or not the Gunners will bring in another defensive midfielder in the summer remains to be seen, but what we do know is that Arsenal have certainly been more successful with Coquelin in the team.
Polish youngster Krystian Bielik was brought in from Legia Warsaw during the January transfer window, but at just 17-years-old, it may be too early for him to be considered ready to play, although Wenger tends to gives the youth players a chance at some stage – usually in the League Cup.
With eight games remaining of this Premier League season, Arsenal are just one point behind second placed Manchester City, as well as having booked a place in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, so it could still be a successful campaign and one in which Francis Coquelin will certainly play a large part.
Match Odds: Hull City 13/2 – Draw 100/30 – Chelsea 4/9
Hull City battle Chelsea at the KC Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the Blues look to strengthen their case to be Premier League champions, while a win for the Tigers would further cement their place in the division for the 2015/2016 season.
Hull are looking to score their first goal against the league leaders since their promotion back to the Premier League.
Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back following their 1-1 draw at home to Southampton last weekend, whereas Hull are heading back to the KC after a 0-0 draw away at Leicester City.
Finally, since Hull’s promotion, the three fixtures between these two sides have ended in a 2-0 win for Chelsea, meaning Chelsea have scored six goals against their opposition since the beginning of the 2013/2014 season.
Hull City have recently been rocked by the news that striker Nikica Jelavic has been ruled out for six weeks after surgery on his knee. Robbie Brady and James Chester are out but expected to return after the international break. Tom Huddlestone will be suspended after his red card against Leicester. The good news for the Tigers is that Mo Diame and Liam Rosenior should return to the squad this weekend after long term injuries.
Chelsea on the other hand, have no fresh injury concerns with John Obi Mikel the only absentee going into this game. The Blues are likely to field the same lineup as the one that drew with Southampton last weekend.
Hull City’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/L/D/D
Chelsea’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/D/W/D
Key Stat: Hull City haven’t beaten any team in the top of half the table this season as it currently stands.
Key Player:Eden Hazard – The talented winger is vital to Chelsea and always makes them tick. He will be hungry to carry on his goalscoring form against Hull having bagged two goals in his last two games against the Tigers.