Ah the Invincibles. Arsenal's greatest team has, this season, become something of a stick to prod Chelsea with -- the question of whether the Blues can match that 2003-04 team is being used to heap extra pressure on a side for whom even winning the title at all would be a serious accomplishment. Until we actually do get around to losing (which, doubtless, we will), Jose Mourinho will be asked about emulating the Gunner's decade-old run. In every single press conference.
It's somewhat comforting that the press thinks there's so little drama in Chelsea's season that they're making us battle ghosts to keep things interesting, but we all know they're setting up comparisons to hit us with when we invariably fail to match them.
The curious thing about the Invincibles, of course, is that despite winning the title and going undefeated they didn't have a particularly good season otherwise. Their points total was comfortably beaten by Mourinho's Blues the next season, they were knocked out of the Champions League by a certain Wayne Bridge, and they had a frankly shameful winning percentage for their raw talent. And that means that the logical next step for 'things to say about Chelsea' is that they shouldn't just match the Gunners but beat them outright.
It's not a bad article, but it's representative of a certain weirdness that's stolen into the conversation around the club this season. We've had a great start to the year and are rightfully favourites to claim the title in May, but the talk of winning the Champions League, claiming the points record or going a whole year unbeaten is horrendously premature. Yes, we'd like to do all of those things, but at no point have we expected them, and therefore any failure to live up to those standards cannot possibly be a disappointment.
Not that that will stop the rest of the planet treating it as such.
Meanwhile, here's the manager shooting down the unbeaten talk once more:
If we lose matches, and I believe we will, it won’t be due to complacency, it will be because football is football. Against Maribor we lost two points but it wasn’t because of complacency, it was football. Their goalkeeper was man of the match and we missed so many chances, but the team was ready, the team played well, especially in the second half.
When you lose points in the Premier League it’s because the opponent was better than you, not because of complacency.
Mercifully, we haven't seen anyone associated with Chelsea -- players or fans -- buy into any of the Invincibles (or beyond!) chatter just yet. But as the season progresses, try not to buy into our own hype too much. We're good, but the focus has to be winning match by match rather than dreaming bigger. No matter what Mourinho says about the impact complacency, we're better off with our feet firmly on the ground.