Wednesday 25 April 2012

How Chelsea Defied the (Longterm) Odds.

Pictures can often convey situations much more effectively than any number of words and this seems to be the case with Chelsea's heroic rearguard action in Spain.Heat maps brilliantly show how Barca swarmed around the Chelsea penalty area,see Zonal Marking's marvelous piece on Chelsea's tactical approach to the game. The graphic below illustrates how the Blues laboured under the heavy weight of longterm expectation last night and how each team's chances of getting to the final fluctuated throughout the game.

1-0,Terry (Red Card),37'
2-1,Penalty awarded to Barca,49'
2-1,Penalty missed by Messi,49'
Chelsea win 3-2 on agg.

Probabilities can only present us with an estimation of the weighted likelihood of a range of possible outcomes and last night a whole glut of the more unlikely actual realities occurred.

Barca were favoured to progress to the Final at kick off.....and it was Chelsea who went through.

Inferior teams who receive a red card on average concede a lot more goals than they score in the remainder of the match.....and Chelsea "won" the game that started after Terry's red card by 2 goals to 1.

Penalties are more likely to be scored than not.......and Messi missed his.

Many have compared Chelsea's performance with that of Liverpool's when they overcame a 3-0 deficit at half time to beat AC Milan in a penalty shootout in the 2005 final.Below I've posted the graph from that game,charting the fluctuating fortunes of Liverpool that night and the shape of the graphs is very similar.Liverpool faced a slightly superior side on neutral territory and had to overcome the scoreboard,whereas Chelsea managed to stay close in scoreboard terms,but were massively disadvantaged by venue,opponent and a decided lack of defenders for large parts of the game.

Liverpool win 3-2 on Penalties.

Of the two,Chelsea were in a very slightly deeper hole as Messi placed the ball on the spot compared to Liverpool's low point just prior to Gerrard's strike to make the score 3-1.

Overall,Well Done to both teams!


  1. I hate both teams, but it sure was an incredible game!

  2. hi Andy,I'm guessing Arsenal,maybe........