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Chelsea v Manchester United: A Battle Of Widths



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According to Castrol EDGE Performance analysis, both Manchester United and Chelsea’s wingers have been key to both club’s positive play this season, with Antonio Valencia, Nani, Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge all enjoying impressive campaigns.

So far this season, only David Silva has provided more assists than Valencia, with the Ecuadorian’s teammate Nani in joint-third, along with Chelsea’s Spanish schemer Juan Mata. Indeed, Mata has hit the ground running in England, and has created more goal-scoring chances for teammates than any other player.

Andre Villas-Boas has also tended to use young England star Daniel Sturridge in a wide right role, with the striker providing two assists so far. However, Sturridge has still provided a potent goal threat from out wide, netting nine goals in the league this season, a joint-high for the Blues.

Premier League 2011/12 – Assists, Chances Created & Goals

Prem 11/12 Team Assists Prem 11/12 Team Chances Created
Silva Man City 12 Mata Chelsea 67
Valencia Man Utd 8 Silva Man City 66
Nani Man Utd 7 Bale Tottenham 62
Nasri Man City 7 Murphy Fulham 60
Mata Chelsea 7 Nani Man Utd 55
Bale Tottenham 7 van Persie Arsenal 53
Giggs Man Utd 7 Baines Everton 52
Adebayor Tottenham 6 Modric Tottenham 52
Sessegnon Sunderland 6 Nasri Man City 49
Adam Liverpool 6 Sessegnon Sunderland 48
Prem 11/12 Team Goals
van Persie Arsenal 19
Ba Newcastle 15
Agüero Man City 14
Rooney Man Utd 13
Yakubu Blackburn 12
Dzeko Man City 11
Dempsey Fulham 10
Sturridge Chelsea 9
Adebayor Tottenham 9
Bale Tottenham 9

The importance of the flanks to both sides is also highlighted by the number of goals the two Premier League giants have scored that have come from crosses. Indeed, only new-boys Norwich City have scored more goals after crosses than Manchester United, while Chelsea find themselves fourth in this ranking.

Premier League 2011/12 – Goals From Crosses

Prem 11/12 Goals From Crosses % of Total
Norwich City 18 56%
Manchester United 16 29%
Manchester City 14 23%
Chelsea 13 32%
Queens Park Rangers 10 42%


Castrol EDGE Performance data shows that Fernando Torres has an impressive record against Manchester United, scoring four goals in nine appearances. Moreover, with Didier Drogba on international duty, the £50 million Spaniard will be crucial to Chelsea’s attack on Sunday.

However, despite glimmers of promise, Torres is still struggling to find his best form, and indeed he has not scored in the league since the 24th September 2011. This can be explained by his poor shooting accuracy; in the last seven games, this has been languishing at 23.1%, which is worse than the 46.7% he averaged in the first fifteen games of the season.

Despite this, Torres’ work ethic has improved, perhaps suggesting an increase in confidence of late.  As a result, in the last seven matches he has averaged more touches, shots and tackles per game, creating on average 1.3 chances per 90 mins.

Torres Opponets in Prem Lge Appearances Torres Goals Torres Goals per Game
West Ham United 6 6 1.0
Chelsea 4 5 1.3
Portsmouth 5 5 1.0
Blackburn Rovers 6 5 0.8
Manchester United 9 4 0.4
Middlesbrough 3 4 1.3
Sunderland 7 4 0.6
Prem League 11/12 Fernando Torres
First 11 Games Last Seven Games
Date 14 Sep 11 – 3 Dec 11 22 Dec 11 – 2 Feb 12
Appearances 11 7
Minutes on Pitch 541 476
Goal Attempts
Goals 2 0
Shots per Game 1.4 1.9
Shooting Accuracy 46.7% 23.1%
Chance Conversion % 13.3% 0.0%
Goal Assists 1 1
Chances Created per Game 0.5 1.3
Passes per Game 17.1 21.6
Pass Completion % 74.47% 74.17%
Ball Touches
Touches per Game 27.0 35.1
% Touches in Opp Box 12% 17%
Tackles per Game 0.3 2.1
Tackles Won % 66.7% 93.3%
Interceptions 0 4

*improvements highlighted in yellow