Decade on from Arsenal’s invincibles, are Blues ready to emulate?
With the Premier League seven games deep, Chelsea already reside at the lofty perch that many punters and pundits predicted they would finish at the start of the season.
Jose Mourinho’s men are currently the only unbeaten side in England’s top-tier and have negotiated challenging fixtures against champions Manchester City and Arsenal at this early juncture.
A hallmark of 51-year-old Mourinho’s managerial reigns has been his impeccable home record. Over the course of nine years, one month and 10 days, Mourinho remained unbeaten at home whilst sitting at the respective helms of Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Sporting Gijon eventually ended that incredible run in 2011 after an unprecedented 151 games (containing 125 wins). A total of 107 managers, including Sir Alex Ferguson, tried and failed to stop the genius in his homely tracks.
Indeed, Mourinho has only lost once at home for Chelsea during his two spells as the club’s manager. That defeat came at the hands of Sunderland last April, undoing a 77-game unbeaten sequence.
Chelsea are 5/2 to remain unbeaten at Stamford Bridge all of the 2014/15 campaign. Those odds speak volumes for not only how seriously Mourinho’s records should be taken, but the layered quality emitting from Stamford Bridge.
The Blues already boasted a powerful, star-studded side heading into this summer. The arrivals of goal-machine Diego Costa, the creative genius Cesc Fabregas, cult-hero Didier Drogba and La Liga’s best left back of the two years, Filipe Luis, strengthened Chelsea in the precise areas they had to address, and they did it with pedigree ready to produce in the here and now.
Only Southampton have conceded less in the league thus far, justifying Thibaut Courtois usurping Petr Cech in between the sticks. Nemanja Matic’s return in January should also be recognised as a significant development in this Blues side.
Chelsea are 20/1 to go unbeaten in the Premier League all season long – home and away. Of course, Arsenal and Preston North End are the only sides to achieve this monumental feat back in 2003/04 and the 1880s respectively.
That particular Arsenal team had a world-class spine of Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry; as well as a midfield who contributed goals at will.
Chelsea sport a similar base, with John Terry leading from the back, Matic protecting his defence and kick-starting play, while Costa is the ruthles scorer that is the difference between nearly men and certified winners.
It’s worth noting the Spain international has equalled the return of the Blues’ most prolific striker last term, Samuel Eto’o, by nabbing nine league goals already. Between Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, they managed 19 strikes, which Costa looks likely to surpass with ease – that’s a meteoric rise in potency and all the difference.
So, can Chelsea really go and do it? With the fierce quality running through the Chelsea ranks, they have as fine a chance as anyone, but with record-specialist Mourinho in charge as well, it encourages you to believe they can just that bit more.