Following a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge at the hands of Arsenal’s invincibles on 21 February, 2004, Chelsea embarked upon the most impressive unbeaten home record that English football’s top-flight has ever seen – a mammoth 86 games.
With the media and fans alike gushing over the current Liverpool side, it’s worth noting that while their unbeaten record at Anfield of 55 games might be mightily impressive, they still have a long, long way to go to match Chelsea’s astonishing 86-game unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge between March 2004 and October 2008.
The Blues’ record-breaking run came under the guidance of four different managers and delivered back-to-back titles, beginning in the final weeks of Claudio Ranieri’s reign, overseeing Jose Mourinho’s trophy-laden first spell at Stamford Bridge, before ending under the stewardship of Luiz Felipe Scolari over four years later. And let’s not forget Avram Grant’s contribution!
In those 86 games, Chelsea won 62 and drew 24 – an astonishing record that may never be matched. The record itself was largely down to the brilliance of Jose Mourinho, who oversaw 60 of those home league games – winning 46 and drawing 14. He was never beaten in the league at Stamford Bridge during his first spell at the club, and went 77 Premier League games unbeaten at home in total before losing to Sunderland 2-1 in April 2014 during his second spell.
With 86 games to choose from during that incredible run, here are three of the most memorable…
Game 44 – April 29th, 2006
Chelsea 3-0 Manchester United
Chelsea were looking to make it back-to-back Premier League titles for the first – and only – time in our history when Manchester United visited Stamford Bridge at the back end of the 2005/06 season. Just a point would be enough to retain the title, but the Blues were far too good to simply settle for that.
Chelsea swaggered their way to a 3-0 victory over second-placed United, clinching the title with authority and style. A fifth-minute William Gallas header sent the Blues on their way, before a brilliant solo effort from Joe Cole on the hour mark to double our lead. Ricky Carvalho put the game – and the title – beyond any doubt with a thundering strike past Edwin van der Sar, sending Stamford Bridge into party mode.
Amongst the 86 games and over 4 years’ worth of dominance at the Bridge, this was the season that saw Chelsea achieve the most impressive home record in the club’s history – 18 wins and 1 draw. Charlton were the only team to take anything from their trip to SW6 that season, with Marcus Bent earning the Addicks a 1-1 draw. Still, that was some record.
Game 68 – October 27th, 2007
Chelsea 6-0 Manchester City
6-0 might be a score-line familiar to Chelsea and Man City fans following the drubbing Sarri’s men received at the Etihad last season, but thankfully this game took place before any Abu Dhabi investment.
Just a little over a month after Jose Mourinho’s first departure from the Bridge, Avram Grant was already showing signs that he was a safe pair of hands for the club, with this game earning his side a fifth straight win in all competitions.
Two strikes from Drogba, along with goals from Essien, Joe Cole, Kalou and Shevchenko earned the Blues an impressive 6-0 victory over the Citizens.
However, the game will be best remembered for Lampard’s ridiculous assist for Didier Drogba to score Chelsea’s second. After receiving the ball just inside the opposition half, Lampard produced a sumptuous 20 yard through-ball with the outside of his right foot, taking multiple defenders out of the game and laying it on a plate for Drogba to score.
Game 81 – April 26th, 2008
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United
Arguably Michael Ballack’s finest game in a Chelsea shirt.
The Blues were hot on the trail of Manchester United in the title race, and needed a win to keep the hunt alive with just three games to go.
Ballack gave Chelsea the lead on the stroke of half-time after ghosting in at the back post and powering a terrific header into the far corner. After a Wayne Rooney equaliser in the second half, Chelsea were awarded a late penalty following a Michael Carrick handball.
Up stepped Ballack, who brilliantly sent van der Sar the wrong way and won the game with his second goal. The win took the Blues level on points with United, but we ultimately came up short in the race for the title. However, this was a terrific performance in a dramatic game that is fondly remembered at the Bridge.
The unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge would only last another 5 games, coming to an end just a couple of months into the following season, as Liverpool beat Scolari’s Chelsea 1-0, thanks to a deflected Xabi Alonso effort.
Not to worry, though. You wouldn’t bet against Chelsea exacting revenge in the sweetest way possible, and being the team to stop Liverpool’s current Anfield unbeaten run long before they get close to 86 games…
Edited by: Dan