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Champions chastened

Our fantastic win over Manchester City on Saturday continued the Blues’ superb recent record at Stamford Bridge against the previous season’s champions.

Goals in either half from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz proved to be enough to inflict City’s first Premier League defeat since they lifted the trophy in May. Not only did the result push us back into the top four, but it also maintained an impressive record which will now carry on for at least another season.

Not since the 2001/02 campaign have we lost to the reigning Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge, having fallen to a heavy defeat that season to Manchester United – although it should be noted the 3-0 scoreline was mirrored at Old Trafford where we thumped the Red Devils.

Since then, we have faced the side defending their crown on 12 occasions in SW6 – remember, the Blues have won it ourselves five times during that period – and not once have we tasted defeated, winning and drawing six matches apiece.

That run of games has included some stunning victories, most notably against Manchester United, although their six Premier League titles in that time has given us more opportunities to face them as champions.

When they visited us in November 2003, just a few months after the Roman Abramovich era had begun at Stamford Bridge, there was a whole host of big-name arrivals at the club as we embarked upon a spending spree unlike anything seen before in English football.

Claude Makelele, Adrian Mutu, Joe Cole, Damien Duff, Geremi and Hernan Crespo were all signed that summer, but our match winner that day was a rather more familiar face to the Blues faithful, as Frank Lampard settled things from the penalty spot.

Super Frank wasn't involved when we took on the Red Devils five years later, knowing nothing less than a win would end our title bid. In his absence, another midfield maestro stepped up to the plate, with Michael Ballack scoring two goals – the second of which came from a hotly disputed penalty – to secure a much-needed victory.

Alas, we eventually missed out on the championship by a couple of points, but it was undoubtedly the individual highlight of the German ace's four-season stint with Chelsea.

United were our major challengers for the title again in the 2009/10 campaign, when Carlo Ancelotti had just taken charge at the Bridge. Considering we eventually finished as champions by just a solitary point, on our way to winning the first league and FA Cup Double in the club's history, the hard-fought triumph in November was arguably one of our most crucial of the season.

Once again a set-piece goal proved to be the decider and it was from a Lampard free-kick that John Terry flicked home the game's decisive effort as we ground out a 1-0 win.

The Red Devils were on the receiving end of another Stamford Bridge defeat the year after their last Premier League title, which came in the final season of Sir Alex Ferguson's long and illustrious reign at Old Trafford. His replacement for the 2013/14 campaign was David Moyes and one of the biggest defeats of his brief tenure came at the hands of a Samuel Eto'o inspired Chelsea side.

The Cameroonian striker followed in the footsteps of Seamus O'Connell in scoring a hat-trick for the Blues against Manchester United, almost 60 years after O'Connell had achieved it. However, our title bid eventually ran out of steam as United's neighbours City claimed the crown.

That started a run of three wins out of our past four meetings with the reigning champions, which also includes a 3-0 drubbing of Leicester City when they visited SW6 a few months after our former boss Claudio Ranieri led to them to the unlikeliest of Premier League titles.

Lacking the inspirational N'Golo Kante in midfield, however, the Foxes simply had no answer to a Blues side in the midst of a club-record winning streak which would eventually propel us back to the summit of English football.

After Diego Costa opened the scoring early on, Eden Hazard rounded Kasper Schmeichel to double our advantage and then Victor Moses' trademark somersault celebration was seen at our west London home for the first time in three years after he completed the scoring in a 3-0 victory for the Blues.

While it we didn't win quite so emphatically against Manchester City this past weekend, the manner in which we held off the previously free-scoring champions made it arguably the most impressive victory of this streak.

During the run we have also drawn twice apiece against City, Arsenal and Manchester United. The highlight of those stalemates was perhaps a 3-3 draw against the latter, when Juan Mata, now a Red Devil himself, scored a sensational volley to help us build a 3-0 lead before we were pegged back. That disappointment was quickly forgotten, though, as we went on to end the season by becoming the first London side to be crowned champions of Europe.

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