Chelsea are riding high on the crest of the bluest of waves – but the historically stormy seas of November lurk on the horizon.
The Blues notoriously do not enjoy the eleventh month, and over the past decade their November win percentage is a meagre 52.5%.
Based on this season however, a dramatic change in fortunes would be surprising given Chelsea’s dominant start to this campaign.
Of the 16 competitive fixtures across all competitions, 12 wins and four draws with no losses have led to questions over the possibility of going one season undefeated.
Bookmakers are offering odds of 10/1 that the three-time Premier League champions will match the feat last achieved by Arsenal in 2004, and join the exclusive group of unbeatables.
There are two ways in which Chelsea have put themselves in contention for the title, but potentially a place in history too: consistency and improvement.
Consistency, of form and personnel, will be key to any league success and this will only help them in their aim to continue this unbeaten streak for as long as possible.
Compared to last season’s top four, seven of the squad have started in every league game so far, one more than the other three combined.
Of that septet, defenders John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic as well as new first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois are forming an impressively solid backbone.
This sturdiness is enhanced further by ever-present Nemanja Matic, while the guile of Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard have been constantly in the starting line-up.
Furthermore, there appears a noticeable difference in the style of Chelsea’s play this year, one much differing from the season previous.
Summer import Fabregas, who was a member of Arsenal’s Invincibles, already has nine league assists, and has taken to the blue shirt like a duck to water.
But where Chelsea were wanting last year was up front, and the arrival of Diego Costa from Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid has proved a masterstroke.
Costa has bolstered Chelsea’s attacking threat and with nine goals in eight league games, the Brazilian-born Spanish international could well power the Blues into the record books.
The arrival of the Spaniards have seen Chelsea score 10 more goals than at the same stage of last season, as well as suffering no defeats opposed to the two from 2013/14.
The manager at the helm, Jose Mourinho, also appears impervious to the November curse.
In his four seasons at the club, the Portuguese has only lost six games in November and suffered no defeats in his first year at the club 10 years ago.
The irrepressible Mourinho will be mindful though that despite the positives, Chelsea have lost a modicum of their previous steeliness.
The Blues, renowned for their resolute defence, have conceded 10 goals already this season which is five more than Southampton, the tightest defence in the division.
The title is never won in November, but it can be lost. Should Chelsea navigate their historically poor month, the course could be set to join Arsenal and Preston North End as invincibles.
Picture courtesy of brent flanders, with thanks