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Old Trafford draw confirms Chelsea's second best ever start to a Premier League season

Laurence Griffiths

Depending on how dramatic you want to feel about the draw at Old Trafford, we're either just unlucky and we gained a point on our closest realistic title rivals anyway (sorry, Southampton) OR we're the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.  I suppose it speaks volumes about expectations (and the drama inherent in any last-minute game-changing goal conceded) that a good number of fans got so upset about it all.  While I think that's all a bit unseemly, maybe I'm just under-reacting and my emotion chip is need of a tune-up.

Anyhow, here's the overall point, and one that Jose Mourinho touched on as well.  By and large, we played well and our performance was "worthy" of league leaders with serious designs on the title.  I put worthy in scare quotes because it comes just a bit too close to that whole silly concept of deserving sports things.  You deserve what you get, as a wise man once said.  Were it not for the referee's apparent dislike of all things Ivanovician (at both ends of the pitch, as United's innovative WWE-style corner defending would attest to), or for Chelsea's absolute shambles of a free kick defense (anybody want to mark, oh you know, Fellaini... hmmm?), we would've gotten a 1-0 win.  As it stood, we got a 1-1 gut-punch instead.  We deserve what we get.

"We played very well against a good Man United. I am so happy with my players."

"We got the same result as last season here but if I compare what we did last season here and what we did this season it clearly shows the evolution of this team. We are not happy with the point."

"To come here and play the way we did, and not to be happy with the point - because we are not - clearly shows how good we were and how well we are playing in this moment."

Van Persie's lucky equalizer -- putting Manchester United on 13 points: almost enough for Van Gaal to equal David Moyes's 14 points after 9 matches last season -- might take the shine off of it, but the team's performance should give us confidence that this will merely prove a minor blip on the road to Premier League glory.  There may be major blips and bad moments ahead (November and winter is coming, after all), and perhaps even disaster if we want to cover all possible eventualities, but just because Van Persie celebrated like United had just won all the leagues, we shouldn't make the same mistake as Robbie Earle did in NBC post-match analysis, ripping up his notes about how well Chelsea played and replacing them with narratives about nothing particularly useful.

Here's José once again, with the final word.

"Is it a good result? I don't think so. Was it a good performance? Yes."

In fact, Chelsea are now unbeaten in nine, which is our second best (in terms of points) and second longest unbeaten start (after 9 games) to a Premier League season.  Here's the top 10:

  1. 2005-06:  27 points (9-0-0; 23:3; +20) -- A draw followed, but Mourinho's second season saw us go on a 10-match winning streak later as well.
  2. 2014-15:  23 points (7-2-0; 24:9; +15)
  3. 2010-11:  22 points (7-1-1; 24:2; +22) -- A win came next, but Ancelotti's "bad moment" soon derailed the whole season.
  4. 2012-13:  22 points (7-1-1; 21:9; +12) -- The ultimate cautionary tale, i.e. Roberto Di Matteo; we went winless in seven straight starting with match #9.
  5. 2006-07:  22 points (7-1-1; 15:5; +10) -- A win followed, but we'd drop to second and stay there the rest of the way in Mourinho's third season.
  6. 2009-10:  21 points (7-0-2; 19:8; +11) -- Five wins in a row followed as we won the title in Ancelotti's first season.
  7. 2008-09:  20 points (6-2-1; 19:4; +15) -- Big Phil Scolari was impressive at first, unsustainable later.
  8. 2003-04:  20 points (6-2-1; 19:9; +10) -- New big boss Abramovich would see five straight wins follow, but Ranieri and Chelsea eventually failed to take their chance at domestic (and European) glory.
  9. 2013-14:  20 points (6-2-1; 16:6; +10) -- A loss and a draw followed before we ultimately conspired to lose out on the title in Mourinho's first season back.
  10. 2004-05:  20 points (6-2-1; 8:2; +6) -- Mourinho's first season would not see us lose another game after this point.

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