Back in January, Mr. Interim contrived to lose to QPR at home, putting the worst bow ever on a decidedly crappy first dozen matches in charge. Worst. Gift. Ever.
So ideally, I would've done this article after the weekend's result, after Mourinho had completed his first* dozen matches in charge of Chelsea. Alas, I didn't remember to do so until he finished lucky number thirteen last night in Gelsenkirchen. No matter, the basic facts remain the same as they were with the first dozen.
* his second-first; not his first-first.
After the QPR loss, Chelsea acquired a man named Demba Ba and smashed Southampton the FA Cup 5-1. Regardless of that result, Benitez remains the proud owner of the worst start by a Chelsea manager in the Roman Era. Congratulations, again!
In all fairness, Mourinho's second coming hasn't been significantly better. Although as Graham pointed out to me, the last time we started 8-3-2 with a +17 goal differential and a Portuguese manager, we ended up winning the Champions League. We also fired said Portuguese manager in the spring, but let's sweep that under the rug of minor details as that coincidence is providing me with far too much amusement at the moment.
The shock home defeat to FC Basel is really the only major blot on Mourinho's record so far. His six clean sheets are the most since Ancelotti (that's 2009; WAGNH wasn't even born yet!), while getting to play only five home matches (4-0-1) in the first thirteen are the fewest along with Benítez (2-2-1), Hiddink (4-1-0), and Grant (3-2-0).
Most importantly, after a rough start, things finally look to be gelling. Goals and wins are suddenly plentiful, we're top of the group in the Champions League, and second behind Arsenal in the Premier League. And on Sunday, a true, resounding statement of intent can be made when we host Manchester City.