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From the stonewall, to the fortuitous, to the lazy leg, to the “foul or not you just can’t give the referee a decision like that to make”, Chelsea have been denied a cornucopia of penalty kicks during the 2014/15 Premier League campaign.
It’s little wonder that the club’s website, which has taken on the mantle of guerrilla pamphlet in an era of anti-Stamford Bridge propaganda, felt the need to speak out.
In a piece entitled ‘Penalty puzzle’ the uncomfortable truth has been outlined – Chelsea have been awarded a mere two spot kicks in the league all season long.
That’s a massive five less than both Manchester City and Arsenal, their closest pursuers in the race for the title.
Even Premier League plankton such as QPR have seen their carthorse strikers and one-dimensional widemen afforded more 18-yard box protection.
Penalties in consecutive games as Jose Mourinho’s men streaked clear of their pursuers in October and November were all it took to convince those allied against the club to turn off the taps.
For a side of Chelsea’s stature to have been given as few penalties as the likes of Burnley, Hull and Sunderland is clear evidence of foul play.
Like so many brutalisms perpetrated against Blues players inside the area this term, it’s doubtless the kind of foul play to which referees will turn a blind eye.
That the campaign against the club has stepped up to encompass a look-the-other-way attitude to penalty-worthy indiscretions in 2014/15 is clear from a glance at past seasons’ penalty statistics.
Last term they were awarded seven spot kicks, the second-highest total in the Premier League, while they topped the charts with 11 in 2012/13.
Things haven’t been this bad since 2008/09, when shady underground forces, clearly sensing the Blues were building up the head of steam that would see them wrestle back the title in 2009/10, saw to it that they got just two penalties all season.
The bwin odds gurus go just 67/100 about Chelsea being awarded three penalties or less over the remainder of the campaign, with four or more a dispiriting 2/1 underdog.
Chelsea are 9/20 to win at Hull in their next Premier League game despite the fact that they travel to Humberside with little to no hope of receiving fair representation from referee Michael Oliver.