Saturday afternoon sees Chelsea host relegation battlers Hull City, a game that ended well for the hosts on the opening day of last season, when first-half goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard gave the Blues a deserved 2-0 victory in the sunshine over Steve Bruce’s newly-promoted side.
To see how Chelsea fans may be thinking about this game, we looked at the Beat Your Manager! Fantasy Football data from this fixture last season, to see what players were picked for the lineup.
Beat Your Manager! Fantasy Football is a game similar to “Football Manager”, but applied to live football, where you manage your favourite Club and pick lineups, bench, formations and substitutions, all in real-time. When fans play the game, the Beat Your Manager team can measure the popularity of different players, by looking at how frequently they are selected for the starting lineup, substitutes bench or not selected at all.
The app ran for the 2013/4 EPL season and is currently inactive while the developers are creating the revised version – we’ll keep you posted on when it’s going to re-launch.
Formation: A solid 4-4-2 the choice for Chelsea fans
31 per cent Chelsea fans opted for a solid 4-4-2 formation for this game, with the next-most popular formation a flexible double-pivot 4-2-3-1 (21 per cent), with an attacking 4-3-3 in 3rd place, selected by 16 per cent of fans.
Goalkeeper: Cech the only choice for CFC fans
Petr Cech was the most popular goalkeeper with Blues fans, with 62 per cent selecting him for the lineup. However, this was his lowest rating for the 2013/4 season, making him the least popular player of the starting 11 and at least 38 per cent of Chelsea fans thought Mark Schwarzer should get the nod for this game instead. Mourinho agreed with the majority and Cech started the game between the posts.
Defence: Two changes between fans and Mourinho
Chelsea fans had two clear favourites in defence for this game, with Ashley Cole and David Luiz jointly Chelsea’s most popular defenders and 2nd most popular players for this game, on a 92 per cent rating from Blues fans.
Much further behind the front two, Gary Cahill and César Azpilicueta were also grouped together by fans, both on 69 per cent.
Branislav Ivanović missed the cut for the lineup with fans but was the only other Chelsea defender to register any sort of respectable rating (54 per cent).
Blues gaffer Jose Mourinho agreed with the fans on Cole and Cahill, but fielded John Terry (36 per cent fan rating) instead of Luiz and started Ivanović instead of Azpilicueta.
Midfield: Mata makes the cut with fans, just not with the Manager
Similar to the defence, Chelsea fans had two clear favourites in midfield for this game last season, with Oscar and Juan Mata the most popular midfielders, their 92 per cent rating from fans making them jointly (with Cole and Luiz) the club’s 2nd most popular players.
Much further behind the front two, Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel were also grouped together by fans, but only merited a slightly above-average 54 per cent.
However, after these four players, approval ratings plummeted for the rest of the midfield squad, with the next most popular midfielder, Victor Moses, getting just 38 per cent of the fans’ vote.
Mourinho agreed with fans on Oscar and Lampard and was rewarded with goals from both, but started Kevin De Bruyne (zero per cent fan rating) instead of Mata and gave the nod to Ramires (31 per cent fan rating) instead of Mikel.
Forwards: Torres gets the nod on a third the votes of Lukaku
Eden Hazard was Chelsea’s most popular forward and player for this game, with a perfect 100 per cent score from Blues fans.
Mourinho also included Hazard in the lineup but chose to start Fernando Torres (31 per cent fan rating) upfront instead of fan-pick Lukaku, who got three times as many votes (69 per cent) as the misfiring Spaniard.