Stamford Bridge will be a strange place come Sunday afternoon. Roberto di Matteo, much loved by fans, was dispatched with haste the moment Abramovic saw an opportunity to do so. The sacking seemed unfair, despite the slide in form, and into the breach left by RDM enters Rafa Benitez. It's fair to say that the former Liverpool man's appointment, however temporary, has not gone down well with Chelsea fans.
It's difficult to know what to expect from this Chelsea team on Sunday. Pundits talk of the 'new manager bounce', which, incidentally, has never been proven. Benitez will have had all of three days with which to work with this group, not enough time to work on any real tactical changes. Benitez's inbox is full: Fix Torres, fix the attacking fluidity of the team. Halt the goals against. Fix the vulnerability of the team in wide areas when defending, find another midfielder.
So we know little of which, or, if any of Benitez's ideas can be implemented in such a short space of time, what we do know about is Chelsea's home form in the Premier League to date.
Chelsea's PL Home Form In 2012/13
Chelsea 4-2 Reading
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle
Chelsea 1-0 Stoke
Chelsea 4-1 Norwich
Chelsea 2-3 Man Utd
Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool
Chelsea started well, as was expected, but their last two home fixtures have featured teams with a little bit of quality and big game experience and Chelsea have been found short in both games.
Chelsea's home possession, though declining, is still above average. In fact Chelsea boast the 6th best home possession in the PL. This is expected from a team as rich in passing talent.
All numbers are per game
Chelsea are a pretty good shots for team, it's the shots against which bring their team shots +/- down to 5th in the league. Shots on target are more important, though.
Shots On Target
Shots on target is where we start to see some greater things from Chelsea. 6.1 shots on target per game is a fine number, their +/- is good for 3rd in the league in terms of home form.
Man City will face a strong Chelsea team who are pretty good at getting their shots on goal. Joe Hart may be busy, let's just hope those shots don't fall to his left side.
PDO average is 100, Scoring % average is around 30, and save % average is around 70.
Chelsea's home pdo is regressing, and is in or around the mean as of their 6th home game of the season. It is regressing due to their once excellent save % taking a hit in recent weeks. Chelsea's scoring% has been declining every home game since the start of the season.
Chelsea's pdo is pretty average for a home team as it stands right now, we can't talk of any outstanding luck, or bad luck being responsible for their home points tally.
Shots on target ratio
Firstly, in any given fixture, the team with the best shots on target ratio is expected to win 62% of the time, according to 2011/12's PL.
Chelsea's ratio is fairly good, it's well above the league's home average and it indicates that Chelsea are enjoying the majority of the quality shooting opportunities. Having this kind of ratio is over the course of the season will bring good things, for if you consistently out shoot the opposition, and we remove the possibility of bad luck, that team should win far more football games than they lose.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, Man City sotr currently stands at 73.22. This is by far the best away number. Is it likely to regress? yes and it will regress away at Chelsea.
Chelsea are a strong outfit at the bridge and will test Man City to the full, especially, or so we are told, now that a new manager has been appointed. The West London club are a strong shot and shot on target team, although not in the top 4 of either category. The clubs home possession is very good, as is their shots on target ratio.
Chelsea's numbers are all very good, but none of them are excellent. There exists nothing here which tells us they are an elite team capable of a title win, or that their home ground is a fortress where visiting sides are broken. Chelsea are a good team, with some good numbers, and some very very good players. I don't think there are enough of those very good players to genuinely scare this excellent Man City outfit, as they have, at times, been scared in the Champions League.
A draw would be my minimum expectation for Man City.
A win for Chelsea would be an outstanding result for the club. It's worth noting that Chelsea have beaten sides of a poorer caliber: Reading, Newcastle, Stoke and Norwich, and have failed to beat teams of quality in Man united and of individual brilliance and a touch of experience in Liverpool.