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Only two teams in the history of English top-flight football have compiled unbeaten league seasons but the betting world is getting excited about the prospect of a third side, Chelsea, joining the ranks of the greats this season.
Preston won 18 and drew four of its 22 games to take out the English First Division in its inaugural 1888-1889 season and Arsenal, in what was arguably a much more impressive feat, won 26 and drew 12 of its 38 matches to win the 2003-2004 edition of the English Premier League. Nottingham Forest, managed by the late, great Brian Clough, went 42 league games without defeat in the late 1970s before the superb sequence of the Tricky Trees spanned two campaigns.
In its first season under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea lost just one English Premier League match in winning its first title in 50 years. Chelsea finished the 2004-2005 English Premier League with a 29-8-1 record, the only blot on its copybook being its 0-1 loss to Manchester City when Nicolas Anelka scored from the penalty mark 11 minutes into the game.
Now in its fifth full season under Mourinho, Chelsea has kicked off its quest to regain the English Premier League title with nine wins, two draws and zero losses, leading bookmakers to quote odds about the Blues equalling the unbeaten league campaigns of Preston and Arsenal. Coral is offering the top odds of 10/1 11.00 +1000 10.00 10.00 -0.10 about such an occurrence.
One may think that it is a little bit early for anyone to be thinking about Chelsea going through the English Premier League season without losing a match but one only has to look at the fixture list to see that it is a possibility.
Chelsea has reached the top of the English Premier League ladder in spite of a tough sequence of early games. It would be no exaggeration to say that Chelsea’s first 11 English Premier League matches have been, on paper, the hardest of any top-flight team and yet the Blues are 9-2-0 and they could easily have been 11-0-0 – they led 1-0 at Manchester City before the 10-man Citizens equalised in the 85th minute and they led 1-0 at Manchester United before the Red Devils leveraged its one-man advantage to level in the 90th minute.
It is easy to see why Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said that no side is going to catch Chelsea in the English Premier League title race. Chelsea has played Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United on the road already, leaving just Arsenal and Tottenham of the supposed Big Seven left for it to visit and the Blues do not have to travel to the Emirates Stadium until almost the end of the season.
In terms of possible UEFA Champions League commitments, it would appear that the tournament’s calendar is relatively kind to Chelsea, with the only problematic game being the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. If Chelsea reach the last eight of the UEFA Champions League then it will play English Premier League games at home to Manchester United and away to Arsenal either side of its UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg.
Is that sufficient to dissuade Chelsea fans from nibbling at odds of 10/1 11.00 +1000 10.00 10.00 -0.10 about the Blues being unbeaten throughout the English Premier League season? Probably not because surely it is better for the purposes of the bet that Chelsea plays Arsenal away after its UEFA Champions League assignment is over. And surely if Chelsea is unbeaten when it locks horns with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium then Mourinho, who is obsessed with his legacy, will be extremely keen for the Blues to remain undefeated with home matches against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Sunderland and an away game versus West Bromwich all that is left after the Gunners clash.
Chelsea does not look likely to slip up in any of its eight English Premier League matches between now and the end of the year so, if one wants to back the Blues to emulate Preston and Arsenal, now is the time to place one’s bet.
Chelsea to remain unbeaten for the season
Odds: 10/1 11.00 +1000 10.00 10.00 -0.10
Where to Bet: Coral
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