Although his team not finding a way through the West Ham defence yesterday meant he fell short of equalling the record of straight league wins at the start of a managerial career at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri is still able to claim the second best start, and one of the best five commencements to any league campaign at the club overall. Carlo Ancelotti in 2009 still has the outright best lift-off as Blues boss.
Our longest-ever winning run at the start came in 2005, Jose Mourinho’s second season at the club when we won nine in a row before a draw at Everton. After such a slick start we went on to capture the championship with some ease. Incidentally, in Mourinho’s first year at Stamford Bridge his side recorded four wins at the start before a 0-0 draw at Villa; that season also a title-winning year.
The only other times this season’s start was surpassed were back in the 1920s, in the second tier, when under our longest-serving manager David Calderhead (who was in his 18th season at the helm), there were six wins on the spin but the notoriously inconsistent Pensioners only managed to finish ninth in a 22-team Division Two. Again a 0-0 draw (at Bristol City) brought the starting run of victories to an end. Later came the aforementioned record first season under Ancelotti, when six in a row set us up nicely for what proved to be our only Double-winning season.
It was the next season under Ancelotti that completes our top-five starts. That along with this season is the other five-win start, and ended with a runners-up spot.
Looking purely at the Premier League era, Maurizio Sarri goes down as one of four managers since the reshaped top flight began in 1992 to win his first five Premier League games, joining Ancelotti plus Pep Guardiola of Man City and Craig Shakespeare of Leicester.