Why Scolari will blow Chelsea’s undefeated home run
Stamford bridge to host a home defeat before November
Remember February 15th 2004? [Actually, it was February 21st. Obviously we don't remember it too well - Ed.] On that day, Dennis Wise’s Millwall were months away from an FA Cup Final and England had qualified safely for the summer’s European Championship. In the Premiership, Arsenal beat Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, and brought themselves a step closer to becoming unbeaten champions. This was Chelsea’s last domestic home loss in 90 minutes.
Months later, Jose Mourinho swept into West London and seduced fans with his irresistible charm and boring football, and in three years his only home losses came to Barcelona in the Champions League and, more embarrassingly, Charlton in a League Cup penalty shootout.
Avram Grant arrived with a lot less gusto last season but even he, considered by most Chelsea fans as a Boris Johnson-esque bumbling clown, kept the unbeaten run alive.
But the amazing run started to become a strain, as highlighted in struggles against Aston Villa and Arsenal, and while it was unthinkable Chelsea would lose a home league game under Mourinho, it became an imminent threat under The Toad.
Considering Chelsea’s first five home opponents next season, Luiz Felipe Scolari will have to perform remarkably well to see Chelsea out of October with the home record intact.
First up is Portsmouth, who will no doubt be buoyed by Community Shield success, then Tottenham, who humiliated Chelsea once last season and nearly beat them at White Hart Lane in the league. Next up is Manchester United, then Aston Villa, who Chelsea took just one point from last season. On October 25th, Liverpool will be coming to West London: though winless at Stamford Bridge under Rafa Benitez, they started last season strongly and may do again.
Consider also these stats:
* Chelsea started last season poorly – they managed three wins, two draws and two losses in their first seven.
* Chelsea haven’t won any of their last five games against Aston Villa and in the Roman Abramovich era their league record in 10 meetings reads: Won 3 Drawn 5 Lost 2.
* Liverpool haven’t been beaten in their opening contest with Chelsea in any of the last three seasons – winning one and drawing two.
In our opinion, Scolari is an overrated manager: he may have won the World Cup by guiding the world’s most gifted players, but he will require time to adjust to the climate of the Premiership. After all, he has never managed domestically in Europe before, and hasn’t managed a club side since 2001.
With this in mind, we fancy one of Chelsea’s first five visitors to pop their home defeat cherry. Do you agree? Let us know with some lively debate below.