With the victory at Stoke City, Chelsea ensured that they remain top of the table at Christmas. This is only the fourth time in the Premier League era that Chelsea have managed this, and the third time under Jose Mourinho. All the previous times when Chelsea topped the table at Christmas, i.e., in 2004-05 and 2005-06 under Mourinho, and 2009-10 under Carlo Ancelotti; Chelsea were the eventual champions. Let us take a look at those previous seasons and compare how things were at this stage in those seasons, starting with 2004-05 in this particular article.
The 2004-05 season was the first season under Jose Mourinho. The man brought in by new owner Roman Abramovich to bring trophies to Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho arrived with a host of new players, some of which went on to become legends; Paulo Ferreira, Dider Drogba, Arjen Robben, Petr Cech, Mateja Kezman, Tiago, Ricardo Carvalho, all arrived at the club with a lot of promise. Jose Mourinho himself had just won the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto. With a host of new players, a successful young coach, and unlimited funds to back him, the 2004-05 season ushered Chelsea into an era of unprecedented success.
The season started with a 1-0 home win against Manchester United, with Eidur Gudjohnsen scoring the only goal. That was followed by another 1-0 win away at Birmingham, and then two consecutive wins against Crystal Palace and then Southampton. Just like the current season, Chelsea started the season with four wins, before losing their one hundred percent record. This season it was a 1-1 draw at the Etihad, in 2004, it was a goal less draw at Villa Park against Aston Villa. The next match was another disappointing draw against Tottenham at home.
After two wins against Middlesbrough and Liverpool, Chelsea then tasted their first defeat of the season on match day 9, away to Manchester City. This season, match day 9 was a bit of a disappointment too, when, having led by a goal against Manchester United for a more than half an hour, Chelsea conceded a goal in the 93rd minute to walk away with a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. The next four matches in 2004 against Blackburn, West Brom, Everton and Fulham, were a walk in the park for Chelsea, scoring 4 goals against all except Everton, where they won 1-0. But this season, Chelsea, after winning 3 matches since match day 9, played a goal-less draw at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland.
On 20th November 2004, Chelsea stuttered against Bolton Wanderers, playing out a 2-2 draw, but then again scored 4 unanswered goals each against Charlton Athletic and Newcastle United. With just 2 more league matches remaining before Christmas, Chelsea lost their last group stage match in the UEFA Champions League against Jose Mourinho’s former club, FC Porto, although Chelsea were already through to the knockout rounds with 4 victories and one draw, which included away victories against PSG and CSKA Moscow.
In the penultimate league match before Christmas, Chelsea faced Arsenal at the Emirates, which ended in a 2-2 draw, while in the next match against Norwich city, Chelsea once again won 4-0. Fast forward to the current season, Chelsea had their first defeat at St. James’ Park against Newcastle United on match day 15 on 6th December 2014, while they managed to win against Hull City and Stoke City thereafter before Christmas. All this while remaining unbeaten in the Champions’ League group stage, Chelsea progressed to the knockout stages with a match remaining. Chelsea, in 2004, won the League Cup in February. This season, Chelsea have already booked their place in the semi-finals against Liverpool.
At Christmas, in 2004, Chelsea were at the top of the table with 43 points from 18 matches, with 4 draws and 1 loss. This season, Chelsea are top of the table with 42 points, having played a match less, with 2 draws and 1 loss. Chelsea are favourites as far as the League Cup is concerned, while they face PSG in their round of 16 fixtures in February. When compared to Chelsea’s 2004-05 season, this season looks almost the same. Blues are again title favourites. With just a point adrift from the 2004-05 season at this stage from one less match, and also with exactly one loss before Christmas and one draw less than the said season at this stage; Chelsea look on course for this year’s Premier League title.
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Edited By: Ojas Tripathi