Following on from the previous article which looked at QPR’s desperate situation and subsequently excellent ability to block shots once in a positive game position, i want to now show you how Chelsea fared in the 2012 Champions League final.
This was one of the all time backs to the wall performances from Chelsea and the fact it came in a game of such enormous magnitude is all the more impressive.
In this article i want to first give you an impression of the In-Game TSr, which should give the game some much needed context. From there I want to look at Chelsea’s shot blocking ability, which if memory serves was a masterclass led by the then peerless Ashley Cole.
Hat tip to Ted Knutson for bringing this game up as an example of shot blocking ability.
Champions League Final: In-Game TSR
This isn’t even close. The gap between the two sides in terms of In-Game TSR is Nile wide.
The gap between the two sides TSR closed slightly during extra time but as the game entered that period it was largely a wait for the penalty shootout.
Shots Per Game Frequency
I initially wasn’t going to include this graph but I thought some of the information it contained was too interesting to discard:
First of all, note Bayern’s shots per minute dip sharply after scoring their first goal, a dip from which it’s Shots Frequency never recovered.
Chelsea’s shots per minute has a slight bump after getting their equalizer but the real reason i decided to include this graph was the information it contains on extra time.
Extra time starts at 97 minutes on the above graph. Both teams see their frequency of shots decrease in extra time and I think this is to be expected and part of a wider problem on the topic of extra time. Extra time screws around with how both teams behave, and I don’t think it is a stretch to say that this drop off in shots frequency is something that may be evident in many games which suffer through extra time.
If both sides are ultra cautious in extra time and expend very little attacking currency in an attempt to win the game, and if both teams are willing to take their chances on the penalty shootout then why have extra time? Why not go straight to the shootout? A simple answer may be that, inadvertantly, extra time is the buffer that prevents the last 15 minutes of the 90 becoming a relative dead zone in terms of attacking intent and shots volume.
It may be that the extra 30 minutes are necessary to protect the integrity of the ‘normal’ 90 minute game which would otherwise see a slow death march to penalties form the 75-80 minute mark. Yes, the last ten minutes of any ‘normal’ game may see a decreased volume of shots but it may well not be as pronounced as this one game example where just 10 shots were recorded in the extra 31 (0.32) minutes. The ‘normal’ 96 minutes produced 42 shots (0.43).
Anyway, I am off track. Blocked shots, blocked shots.
Chelsea’s Blocked Shots Frequency
At Chelsea’s shot blocking peak they were blocking a Bayern shot every 5 minutes, which is an extraordinary number. Chelsea had a long, slow build up to that peak and shortly afterwards the frequency of blocked shots regresses. Maybe it was the goals, maybe it was Bayern’s slowing as an attacking force in extra time which accounts for Chelsea’s dip in shots blocked per minute.
But Chelsea’s shot blocking skill is real and evident. Chelsea were blocking an increasing number of Bayern shots at 0-0, then the goals came and things changed..
Location Of Blocked Shots
Here we see the pitch location of the Bayern shots which Chelsea blocked:
It’s all about the shot blocks from a Central position inside the box and blocks form outside the box. Outside blocks lead us to questions about Bayern’s shooting discipline and Chelsea’s tactical set-up. Nearly a quarter of Bayern’s impressive shots total were blocked shots that came from outside the box.
Chelsea blocked 8 Bayern shots from a central position inside the box. These are the really valuable blocks from shots in the prime goalscoring area of the 18 yard box.
Overall, Chelsea were absolutely hammered in the shots count but those ‘overall’ numbers need be taken with a pinch of salt. Chelsea blocked almost 50% of Bayern’s total shots, this is simply a staggering number and backs up what most of us saw by eye.
Chelsea were hanging on in this game and although blocking shots is a skill, Chelsea’s frequency of blocked shots cannot have been a deliberate tactical set-up. Instead it was merely a function of a good back line desperately trying to hold back the tide of the tactically superior and more talented Bayern side.