Of all the words thrown around the English game ever so often ( yes, we are talking about you “legendary”, “greatest goal of the season”), the word ‘invincible’ (thankfully) is reserved only for a special achievement. An achievement which has been reached only twice in the glorious history of the English league – going through an entire domestic season unbeaten. As all Arsenal fans are quick to remind you, they were the last ones who did it in the 2003/04 Barclays Premier League season, while not many Preston North End fans are still around to tell you how they saw their team go through the season unbeaten back in the 1888/89 league season.

Yes, it is that rare. Literally, a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that deserves the tag it gets – invincibility. Along with its many other watchable qualities, the English Premier League is one of the most competitive leagues around, which makes staying unbeaten even more impressive. The Gunners team that did it boasted of not only the best striker in the league, but also the best defence. Thierry Henry’s 30 goals and a paltry 26 goals conceded in a defence led by Sol Campbell, the Gunners achieved glory that season.

Flash forward to the 2014/15 season, and we see parallels being drawn already. The second-meanest defence so far in the Premier League, the most goals scored and a striker who is at the peak of his powers, are Chelsea ready to go through the season unbeaten? Never biased, us here at TheHardTackle look at what could work for them and what could snap that dream:

The Mourinho factor

That Arsenal team was so successful because it was not only led by Henry on the pitch, but also the astute Arsene Wenger was leading them off it. A master tactician who has given us the pleasure of seeing his Arsenal team play, the Frenchman played a major role in that season – and all the years that he has been at the Gunners, for that matter. Compared to that, Jose Mourinho’s team may not please everybody with their style of play, but they are equally effective. A play that is more defence oriented and making sure that points are not dropped may not suit everyone, but ask any Chelsea fan and they will point you to the current Premier League table.

Mourinho

Mourinho will play a crucial role if Chelsea want to achieve invincibility

Of all the top four teams last season, Mourinho’s team managed to stay unbeaten (only drawing two) with the other three clubs. Their season was lost because ofAi?? an unexplainable home form – which surely would have been the point of discussion leading in to this campaign. If they had cut down their losses at home, Chelsea were looking nailed-on for the title. Mourinho is smart enough to know that it cannot be repeated this season.

Even at this early stage of the season, it can be seen that the lessons have been learnt. What the Blues lacked last season has been strengthened with quality players (and their backups) all in place. The obvious innuendo here is replacing the misfiring Fernando Torres with fellow Spaniard Diego Costa, while also bringing much needed class in the midfield with Cesc Fabregas as a replacement for Frank Lampard. Another problem area for Chelsea last season was the lack of a proper back-up goalkeeper and a full-back, Thibaut Courtois and Felipe Luis ticking the boxes there. The Portuguese gaffer has always been smart in the transfer window and with him being given time to build his team, he is proving to everyone as to why he is one of the top coaches in the world.

Chelsea’s Spanish armada

Unless one has been living under a rock all this while, the names Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas will be familiar to any football fan. Till quite recently the top scorer in the Premier League, Costa has been a revelation. While many expected him to take his time to settle to the pace of the Premier League, he has got off to the quickest start possible. A very Drogba-like player who loves to take on defenders, hold up the ball and has a finish to match, the Spaniard is already proving to be worth the money Chelsea spent on him.

Chelsea's Spanish armada

Chelsea’s Spanish armada

Like Drogba who had Lampard to thank for many of his goals, Costa has his countryman Fabregas. Chelsea’s supply line has mostly come from the feet of the former Arsenal player, which is why he is the leading assist-maker in the League so far. His vision, his perfectly-weighted through balls and his ever increasing work-rate deserve much more than a line in this piece, so we leave it here. The Spanish duo has been unstoppable this season and could very well be the reason if Chelsea do go through the season unbeaten.

While it is unfair to credit the success of the team so far to only two players, it seems that if Chelsea are to achieve invincibility, both Costa and Fabregas will have to be present in most of the games the Blues play this season.

What can stop them?

All teams, including the invincible Arsenal team of 2003-04, suffer a blip during some part of the season. A blip, if the team is lucky, where they scrape through most games and get points on the board. And if unlucky, will lose points and more importantly, the faith of their fans.

It is often said that great teams make their own luck. The Manchester United team of 1999 which won the treble had their fair share of it, the aforementioned Arsenal team also had a few games which they were lucky to escape from and Chelsea themselves who were unbeaten at home under Mourinho were lucky to escape with a draw in a few games. The bottomline is that for every great achievement, luck plays a role. Already this season, Chelsea were lucky to see off QPR at home and escape with all three points at Anfield. The question remains if they’ve already used their quota of it for the season.

The Invincibles team of Arsenal circa 2004

The Invincibles team of Arsenal circa 2004

During that unbeaten run, Arsenal were also lucky with injuries (or the lack of it). The backbone of the team – Patrick Viera, Sol Campbell and Henry stayed injury-free throughout. While Chelsea have been lucky on that front so far – with only Costa missing two games – most of the current first eleven have had their share of injury problems in the past. Even if one of them falls prey to an injury, his back up will have to adjust to the pace and in that, may cost them a game. These situations are, of course, out of the hands of the players but Mourinho and his coaching staff are already doing well to rotate the squad as much as possible to keep everyone fresh.

Whether the Blues do it or not, it is evident that they are the favourites for the title at the moment. For Mourinho and his men, getting their hands on the title will be a priority and in that process if they create history, icing on the cake. It would be extremely clichAi?? to say that only time will tell whether Chelsea achieve invincibility, but the Blues faithful know that this team they have do possess the ability to do that led by a proven winner in Jose Mourinho. For now though, they would not mind bagging that treble, even if they lose a game or two in the process.

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