A new season but an old manager for Chelsea. The special one has returned to the Bridge, replacing his old rival Rafael Benitez, and will be looking to guide the Blues back to the top of the Premier League. Despite the ill feeling towards Benitez, the Spaniard led the team to third in the table and a Europa League triumph but, needless to say, his Portuguese replacement will be intent on bettering that and Jose Mourinho has certainly been left with the core of a squad capable of more.
Always looking for that extra edge or slight advantage, the Chelsea sides led by Mourinho in his first spell were always a threat from set-pieces and so the two-time Champions League winner will be pleased to see that his players are already adept in the air, scoring more headed goals than any other Premier League side last season. Only Manchester United and Stoke scored more from set-pieces than the Blues.
|Assists - PL 2012/13|
|Juan Mata||12||Eden Hazard||11|
|Eden Hazard||11||Lukas Podolski||9|
|Santi Cazorla||11||Santi Cazorla||9|
One of the players key to this dead ball success was Juan Mata, the midfielder provided four assists from set pieces and 12 in total, the most in the league. The Spain international was the stand out player for the Stamford Bridge club in 2012-13, making rumours that he may be sacrificed by Mourinho this summer all the more bizarre. Should he stay, Mata will likely be amongst the chief providers for the Blues again this time around.
Right there alongside him is likely to be Eden Hazard. The Belgian created more goals from open play than his team-mate last season, indeed more than anyone else in the Premier League too. The tricky winger also managed to complete more than 82% of his passes in the final third and that ability to pick out his team-mates in opposition territory should ensure the assists don't dry up.
Petr Cech is unlikely to score the winner for provide the perfect pass for Chelsea to score but the Czech goalkeeper has earned Chelsea the points on numerous occasions in the past. He looked back to his best last season and the stats certainly back that up. The Blues keeper saved a higher percentage of the shots he faced than any other goalkeeper to have played 15 games or more, the third most overall. Similar form this season will be vital if Mourinho's men are to topple the Manchester clubs at the top of the league.
|Save percentage - PL 2012/13|
|Player||Team||Save % (min 15 apps)|
|David de Gea||Man Utd||76.36|
|Jussi Jaaskelainen||West Ham||75.58%|