History

Impenetrable – Chelsea’s longest runs of clean sheets

Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Sunday saw the Blues match a long-standing club record as we prevented our opponents from scoring for a seventh straight game.

Having kept clean sheets against the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton during this excellent run, Thomas Tuchel’s side now have an opportunity to surpass a mark established in our very first season in 1905/06 and matched on another three occasions.

As we look ahead to the possibility of the Blues setting a new club record when West Bromwich Albion visit Stamford Bridge on 3 April, here is a recap of how the Blues first set the record 116 years ago and equalled it in more recent times.

1905/06

If not for some unfortunate scheduling, Chelsea could have gone nine straight matches without conceding in our maiden campaign in 1905/06.

Following wins in Division Two games against Barnsley (6-0) and Clapham Orient (3-0), we found ourselves in a difficult situation on 18 November 1905 when we were slated to play two games in one day. The decision was made to prioritise the league over the FA Cup so while the second string lost 7-1 to Crystal Palace in the cup, our first-choice side beat Burnley 1-0 at the Bridge.

With giant goalkeeper William Foulke between the posts, Chelsea kept clean sheets in our next six games, a run which included three 0-0 draws. The last of those came at Manchester United on Christmas Day with the Pensioners finally letting in a goal in a 4-2 win at Glossop the following day.

2003/04

Nearly a century passed before Chelsea managed to match the record in 2003. After beading Notts County 4-2 in the League Cup, Claudio Ranieri’s side began November with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Everton before a pair of statement wins against Lazio (4-0) and Newcastle United (5-0).

Our fine run of clean sheets also included a 0-0 draw with Sparta Prague which sealed our progress in the Champions League and a 1-0 win over Manchester United, courtesy of a Frank Lampard penalty, which sent the Blues to the top of the league.

After going nearly 11 hours without conceding, the streak came to an end when Jermaine Pennant netted for Leeds in the first half of a 1-1 draw at Elland Road in early December.

2005/06

While Arsenal won the Premier League in 2003/04, we claimed the title the following season and retained it in 2005/06 after a campaign which included two long sequences in which our defence went unbreached

The first streak began in our league opener at newly-promoted Wigan in mid-August when Hernan Crespo’s stoppage-time stunner secured a 1-0 victory as we kicked off our title defence with nine straight league victories.

It was not until our eighth match of the campaign in late September that we finally conceded as Luke Moore gave Aston Villa the lead at Stamford Bridge before the Blues roared back with a Lampard brace to win 2-1.

Manchester United ended our 40-match unbeaten run in the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in early November but it proved a catalyst for another great sequence for the Blues who did not lose another game for three months.

The first seven matches of that 18-game sequence were clean sheets, beginning with a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United after the players had returned from the international break and culminating in a 2-0 defeat of Arsenal on our last-ever visit to Highbury in the final weekend before Christmas.

Fulham’s Brian McBride ended that sequence on Boxing Day in the west London derby but Chelsea still won the game 3-2 to remain firmly on course for another title success.

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