LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Robin van Persie of Arsenal celebrates scoring as John Terry of Chelsea reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
'Chelsea have conceded a lot of late goals this season.' If you're a Blues fan you hear that quote entirely too often. It's true as well - out of the 32 goals Chelsea have conceded in the league this season, an astonishing 38 percent have been conceded after the 80 minute mark. Late goals have clearly cost the team dearly - the home losses to Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa are evidence enough of that - but being the curious person I am I decided to see how many points had been lost to said late goals. Well, kind of.
The question I ended up asking is 'how many more points would Chelsea have if matches were only 80 minutes long?' The answer ended up surprising me .
Losses to Draws (+1 pt)
Oct. 29 - Arsenal home: 3-5 to 3-3
Nov 20 - Liverpool home: 1-2 to 1-1
Dec 31 - Aston Villa home: 1-3 to 1-1
Mar 3 - West Bromwich Albion away: 0-1 to 0-0.
Draws to Wins (+2 pt)
Dec 17 - Wigan Athletic away: 1-1 to 1-0.
Feb 5 - Manchester United home: 3-3 to 3-2.
That's eight points and a plus eight goal differential. Not bad, eh? But looking at the positive outcomes isn't going to tell us the whole story, because Chelsea have had their share of late game heroics as well. Where would they have dropped points under this new scheme?
Wins to Draws (-2 pt)
West Bromwich Albion home: 2-1 to 1-1
Norwich City home: 3-1 to 1-1
Manchester City home: 2-1 to 1-1
Draws to Losses (-1 pt)
Swansea City away: 1-1 to 0-1
There are several results that remain unchanged as well - remember all of those random late goals Chelsea gave up even during their good run at the beginning of the year? They'd certainly help the goal differential out a little bit, right? It turns out that this isn't actually the case - the two late goals at Newcastle cancel them out. Anyway, if you count up the points that would be lost if matches were 80 minutes long, you end up with negative seven and minus five in goal differential.
So, at the end of the day, our proposed change doesn't really benefit the Blues that much - +1 point and a +3 goal differential would be nice, but hardly worth the effort. We can't blame our late-game play for the poor season Chelsea are having!