Ranking All 13 Chelsea Victories in the Blues' Record Run

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2017

Ranking All 13 Chelsea Victories in the Blues' Record Run

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    After winning 13 Premier League matches in a row, Chelsea have finally succumbed to the inevitable—they lost a game of football. Defeat came at White Hart Lane against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, with the hosts' 2-0 victory helping keep the Premier League title race alive.

    Still, Chelsea remain the runaway leaders at the top, sitting five points clear of Liverpool with Spurs a further two back in third. Antonio Conte's men are firmly in control, owing it all to a record-equalling run of form that has seen them surprise many this term.

    Chelsea's 13 wins means they equalled the English record first set by Preston North End in 1892. Only Sunderland (in the same season) and Arsenal in 2002 have done the same in the 125 years since.

    So, while Chelsea fans may be feeling a little upset at losing to Spurs, we at Bleacher Report are taking a different perspective. The achievements of Conte's men since early October have been that impressive and far-reaching they should be celebrated. That's what we plan to do as we rank all 13 victories.

13. Hull City 0-2 Chelsea

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    The game that started it all off for Chelsea was rather straightforward for Conte's side. Rarely under pressure against Hull City, it was an endeavour more about the players putting their new formation into action than it was performing at their peak.

    The Blues had just suffered back-to-back losses to Liverpool and Arsenal, so they needed three points to get them back on track.

    Conte's answer to that poor form was the switch to a 3-4-3 that has produced so much since. Here, at the KCOM Stadium, however, we only saw indicators of what was to come. It wasn't as exciting as the other performances that would soon follow, meaning it scrapes into our list by default.

    Willian and Diego Costa were the goalscorers in a comfortable victory for the Blues.  

12. Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth

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    Last season saw Bournemouth claim a shock 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge as the end drew closer for Jose Mourinho's second spell as Chelsea manager.

    The signs were there for how bad things were becoming. The Blues were disjointed, unable to find anything resembling a rhythm, and the Cherries capitalised on it.

    When things improved under Guus Hiddink, it was a different story at the Vitality Stadium come April, when a rejuvenated Eden Hazard tore through Eddie Howe's side to inspire a 4-0 win.

    For Chelsea to beat Bournemouth 3-0 on Boxing Day this season, it was almost expected. The Blues were in the throes of their winning run, and given the contrasting styles, the prediction was of Bournemouth being lambs to the slaughter. Chelsea's power and system was always going to be too much for them.

    It wasn't exactly as one sided as some predicted, but a 3-0 victory was par for what we expected from a side that had won 11 games in a row up to this point.

11. Chelsea 3-0 Leicester City

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    Reigning champions Leicester City are doing this season what Chelsea did last: struggling to live up to their billing as England's finest from the year before.

    Indeed, their fortunes are almost identical as Chelsea lead the way early in the new year, with Leicester struggling just above the relegation zone. Rewind 12 months ago and it was the exact opposite.

    In mid-October, when these sides met at Stamford Bridge, the Foxes' form was hinting at that being the case. Struggling for victories and confidence, they weren't the same threat as old. That Chelsea ran away with the game, winning 3-0, wasn't too much of a surprise.

    Normally, defeating champions so comfortably is cause for excitement, but for Chelsea, it was a game they should be winning. It was only the second outing in their 13-game winning run, with Costa and Eden Hazard on the scoresheet—the pair dedicated their strikes to Willian, whose mum had recently died.

    Victor Moses scored the third.

10. Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea

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    It's the small victories that are the biggest in any pursuit of a league title. In the Premier League, Serie A or Bundesliga, it's a statement that rings true.

    Throughout any campaign, champions have to earn the right to win matches. And often, it's not against their direct rivals that teams face those challenges. Chelsea experienced exactly that against Middlesbrough in late November.

    Aitor Karanka's side may have been playing at home, but given the fact Chelsea had won five straight matches up to this point—their previous outing had seen them thrash Everton 5-0—they opted for damage limitation.

    When teams have that approach, it requires a different type of mentality. Players can't get frustrated by a lack of space to express themselves; they must remain patient and wait for their opportunity. Thankfully for Conte's side, that was Costa's mindset, and he was on hand to score the game's only goal.

    It was a professional performance from Chelsea against a Boro side that was intent on doing enough to claim a point.

9. Southampton 0-2 Chelsea

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    When Chelsea visited Southampton in late October, the Blues met a side in a hot streak of form themselves.

    Saints hadn't lost a league match since early September and the weekend previous had just recorded a 1-1 draw away to Manchester City. They had been leading that game, too, and came away feeling they could have claimed much more than a point against Pep Guardiola's side.

    Chelsea were still ramping up their form, and defeating Southampton in the manner they did showed us how rapidly things were improving under Conte's leadership.

    This was a dominant display from Chelsea as they controlled proceedings from beginning to end. Southampton hardly had a sniff at goal, with Costa again showing his brilliance up front with the strike that sealed a 2-0 victory.

    This was the game that made Chelsea's rivals sit up and take notice at their gaining momentum. They could be taken seriously again.

8. Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea

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    With no European football this season, Chelsea's schedule has been calmer than normal. So playing three games in six days was a big test for just how effective Conte's methods were.

    The question being asked was whether the Blues had the mettle to roll from one game to the next without time to prepare in between. In that six-day period, they faced West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland, finishing up away to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

    They won the previous two matches and completed a hat-trick for the week with a 1-0 victory over the Eagles in what would prove to be Alan Pardew's last game in charge.

    Similar to Middlesbrough before it, this wasn't a particularly exciting game or performance from Chelsea. But professional it was as they snuffed out Palace's threat to grind out another three points to mark 11 straight wins in the season.

7. Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea

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    Before Chelsea faced Crystal Palace, they had a midweek trip to the north-east to play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

    Winning by the same 1-0 margin, the Blues' victory over Sunderland pips Palace into seventh in our rankings because of the guts they had to show that night. Not only have trips to Sunderland been a banana skin in recent years, but the Blues had to dig deep against David Moyes' men.

    When managers talk about players showing character, it was exactly that Chelsea had to display as Sunderland were up and at them. It was an impassioned performance from a team that is fighting against relegation, but the Blues overcame it and had enough quality to edge out a victory.

    Things could have been so different at the death, though, when Patrick van Aanholt rifled a perfect shot into the corner only for Thibaut Courtois to dramatically turn it wide for a corner.

    This was a performance different to most we have seen from Chelsea this season.

6. Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United

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    Thrashing your previous manager's new team 4-0 has to rank high in any season. So good were Chelsea in their run of 13 victories this term that defeating Jose Mourinho's Manchester United just misses out on making it into our top five.

    Right from the off, Chelsea set their stall out at Stamford Bridge. It took Pedro less than a minute to score the game's opening goal, and it was all downhill from there for United. They were completely bossed, unable to cope with the 3-4-3 that was beginning to take hold.

    If games such as Sunderland and Crystal Palace have told us about the resolve in this Chelsea squad, defeating United in the manner they did was a reminder of the talent Conte has at his disposal. This was a performance to breed confidence in their ability to go toe-to-toe with their rivals.

5. Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

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    It should come as no surprise that it was Tottenham Hotspur who ended Chelsea's winning streak this season. The reason being that it was they who have gave them the biggest test in that run of wins.

    In game seven of the run, Spurs scored the first league goal Chelsea had conceded in over 10 hours of football. For the opening 30 minutes, they had pinned the Blues back, and it didn't look good for them at all. Then Pedro scored a wonder goal on the stroke of half-time and the dynamic changed.

    After the interval, it was suddenly Chelsea who were in the ascendancy and looked to be the side that would win the game, which they did through Moses' strike.

    Chelsea had to battle for every inch against an impressive Spurs side, and as the game at White Hart Lane would later show, it could have gone either way were it not for some moments of individual brilliance.

    This game could have easily stopped Chelsea in their tracks.

4. Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea

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    Just like against Tottenham Hotspur a week earlier, Chelsea were asked some serious questions against Manchester City. This game edges out the Spurs victory because of how Chelsea reacted to being a goal down at the Etihad Stadium.

    Not only did Chelsea force their way back into contention, but they did it with no shortage of quality. From being outplayed for long spells before the interval, Chelsea took charge in the second half. They were more physical than City and, despite riding their luck at times, played the better football to come out 3-1 winners.

    Goals from Willian and Hazard were a masterclass in counter-attacking football, but Costa's equaliser was all about his nous in front of goal. From Cesc Fabregas' wonderful through ball to his execution, it oozed class.

    This was an away performance deserving of champions.

3. Chelsea 4-2 Stoke City

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    Like against Middlesbrough back in November, Chelsea didn't get it all their own way against Stoke City on New Year's Eve.

    Rather than facing a side hell bent on keeping them at bay, it was a different challenge Conte's men had to overcome. So back and forth was this match, it could very easily ended 4-4 and not 4-2 in Chelsea's favour, as it eventually did.

    This was a performance about composure and negotiating a way to victory. On the surface of it, that sounds odd given that twice Chelsea were in front before they surrendered the lead to soft goals. If anything, that's certainly not composed.

    But it's the soft goals that are the point; from those setbacks, Chelsea had to set themselves straight in order to win. From being pegged back twice, they had to show character to overcome the nerves as they attempted to equal the record of 13 victories in a row.

    It wasn't pretty, but it was determined, and Chelsea overcame a significant challenge to record a precious three points.

2. Chelsea 5-0 Everton

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    Some have dubbed this as being among the best performances of the Premier League era from any team; defeating Everton 5-0 was most certainly the best performance we've seen from Conte's men to date.

    The Blues were awesome in attack, and Everton boss Ronald Koeman commented himself that he hadn't seen a side so ruthless in the 3-4-3 that Chelsea have adopted.

    Conte's men blew the opposition away. It was awesome.

    It was Hazard who impressed most as he terrorised the Everton back line. They weren't sure how to cope with him as he floated from flank to flank, taking up threatening positions to really punish the Toffees.

    Chelsea had everything, mixing their physicality with the right blend of skill in key areas. It doesn't top our list for a very valid reason, though—Everton allowed Chelsea to play this way, and awesome as they were, that made things a bit easier for them against Koeman's side.

1. Chelsea 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

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    We were kidding ourselves if we thought Tony Pulis was going to send out his West Bromwich Albion side at Stamford Bridge with the intention to play football. Koeman had made that mistake, attempting to go toe-to-toe with Chelsea, and he was powerless as his Everton side were thrashed 5-0.

    Pulis is a shrewd operator, and with a six-man defence, he restricted Chelsea's threat significantly; more so than Sunderland and Middlesbrough had done in previous outings.

    Indeed, it took a moment of individual brilliance from Costa to win the game 1-0—his only clear-cut opening in the entire 90 minutes.

    It's for that reason we've ranked the defeat of West Browmich Albion as our No. 1. This was the game when the so-called lesser sides had worked Chelsea out. It wasn't about winning matches anymore, it was about containing them, and Pulis was bold enough to go there more so than any other manager.

    Pulis didn't show how to beat to Chelsea; his approach opened the door to show sides how to avoid being beaten by Chelsea. And it nearly worked.

    That's where the threat will come from this season. Against teams who believe they can beat Chelsea, the Blues will get joy as they counter them and play to their strengths. It's against lesser opponents who will finish 90 minutes happy with a point where they will face their biggest challenge.

    They found a way against West Brom, and they'll have to do it on more occasions this term if they are to win the title.


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