Chelsea Have No Need to Panic, but Nothing to Celebrate After Fulham Win
From crisis to top of the Premier League—it's been an eventful week for anyone associated with Chelsea.
With results going their way on Saturday, however, the Blues leap-frogged those around them in the Premier League to reclaim the top spot with a 2-0 victory over Fulham in the West London derby on Saturday evening.
"After a bad start [to the season] that everybody kept telling me is the worst start for about a decade, today I go to bed and look at the table and nobody is in front of us," quipped Jose Mourinho in his post-match press conference (reported by BBC Sport).
The Portuguese's tone said it all. He knows it all means very little right now and besides, a victory for any of their title rivals in Sunday's fixtures—Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United or Manchester City—means Chelsea's return to the top would have lasted less than 24 hours.
And as his press conference continued, Mourinho was eager to continue making light of his predicament.
That's what I read - [Chelsea's start to the season] was a disaster.
It looks like for the others, to lose is a normal thing and it looks like for us it's the end of the world [...] I've been in football for a long time and when results are not good I'm not expecting people to speak well about our team.
But I'm building a different team and the most difficult thing is first to change the philosophy. That takes a little bit of time.
Mourinho's parlance is typical of the start of any season where teams are taking points from one another before it settles and begins to take shape.
Just like their rivals, Chelsea's main focus is building form and not losing touch with the leading pack. On Saturday was a case of mission accomplished, not just chasing their fellow title contenders, but sitting out in front, however temporary that may be.
To reinforce the point, come the final whistle at Stamford Bridge, just three points separated Newcastle United in 11th and Chelsea.
Indeed, Mourinho has probably learned the lessons of recent seasons past at Stamford Bridge.
This time last year, Chelsea were three points better off and at the top of the table. Manchester United trailed in second place by a point and Manchester City sat in seventh. Both teams finished above the Blues come May.
After five games in 2011-12, Chelsea were third, some six points above above Arsenal who were apparently in a relegation battle, sitting 17th.
The Gunners finished third, with Spurs and Newcastle above sixth-placed Chelsea.
The return of club football after a summer of transfer gossip and innuendo is always a pleasure, but history tells us the real excitement is some way off yet.
Departing Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, some Blues fans were reveling in victory. "Top of the league, we're having a laugh" they chanted.
Laughing, Chelsea aren't right now, yet they shouldn't be crying into their post-match pints on the King's Road, either.
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