Analysis

London is Blue: Our seven away derby wins in a row

Yesterday’s victory over Brentford saw Chelsea set a new record by winning our seventh consecutive away London derby in the league.

We have emerged victorious from every away trip in the capital since the start of the year, including successful visits to the Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (twice), London Stadium, Selhurst Park, Craven Cottage and now the Brentford Community Stadium.

After yesterday’s record-breaking win, we have scored 13 goals across those seven matches, while conceding just once in a run which began under Frank Lampard before Thomas Tuchel took up the baton, meaning the German retains a 100 per cent record in away league derbies.

But how did we get here? Keep reading to refresh your memory of the six previous derby victories that allowed us to set a new record yesterday, starting back in January…

Fulham 0 Chelsea 1

Our run of derby wins began on our shortest of away trips as we followed the Thames west to Craven Cottage. Our hosts made Lampard’s Blues side work hard for our victory, though, despite being reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time following Antonee Robinson’s wild challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Mason Mount had gone closest to ending the stalemate when he hit the crossbar with a half-volley in the first half, and it was the England midfielder who secured the three points with an almost identical chance 12 minutes from the end, lashing in low after Alphonse Areola had palmed a Ben Chilwell cross in his direction near the penalty spot.

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Chelsea 1

Tuchel came out on top of this managerial battle in his first London derby, and only his third match as Chelsea head coach, as we inflicted the first back-to-back home league defeats of Jose Mourinho’s career and Tuchel became the first manager to record clean sheets in his first three games with the Blues since the Portuguese’s time at the Bridge.

Following an accomplished performance we could count ourselves unlucky to have only won by a single goal, with Tottenham grateful to captain Hugo Lloris for producing excellent saves to deny Timo Werner and Mount.

The decisive moment came from the penalty spot, after Werner’s clever run and persistence in the box resulted in him being brought down by Eric Dier, and Jorginho switched from his distinctive usual penalty technique to smash his spot kick low into the bottom corner.

Crystal Palace 1 Chelsea 4

We turned on the style at Selhurst Park in a comfortable victory that is probably best remembered as the game Kai Havertz truly announced himself on the Premier League stage with a brilliant performance. The German knocked the stuffing out of Crystal Palace with a goal and an assist inside the first 10 minutes, showing great composure to place a shot in the bottom corner from a tight angle before picking out Christian Pulisic in space at the near post.

A Kurt Zouma header and a second Pulisic goal from close range, either side of Christian Benteke’s second-half consolation for the home side, secured a comfortable victory which was no less than we deserved from a vibrant attacking display. The only regret was that Havertz had what would have been a guaranteed goal of the season saved, after lifting the ball over a defender with an exquisite first touch and volleying low on the second in a piece of skill reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne against Scotland at Euro ’96.

West Ham United 0 Chelsea 1

Two weeks after that thumping win at Palace we visited West Ham, who had the second-best home record in the Premier League. It was no surprise, then, that we found chances hard to come by, even if we restricted the home side to few attacks of their own, with the exception of a brief second-half fightback which was eventually snuffed out by a red card shown to Fabian Balbuena for catching Chilwell high with his follow-through on a clearance.

It had earlier been Chilwell who provided the assist for the only goal of the game, but it was the scorer Werner who deserved most of the credit. He did well to hold up the ball and turn in the centre-forward position, before feeding it to Mount and darting into the box to put the finishing touch on Chilwell’s low cross at the end of a fine team move.

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2

Our first two Premier League matches of the 2021/22 season were both derbies and, after dismissing Crystal Palace 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, we recorded a second victory at the Emirates Stadium with little more fuss.

The undoubted highlight in north London was Romelu Lukaku’s second Chelsea debut, as he took just 14 minutes to demonstrate what he could bring to the team with a brilliant piece of centre-forward play. He held on to the ball under pressure with his back to goal before laying it off for Mateo Kovacic. By the time the Croatian had found Reece James in space on the right, Lukaku was racing into the box to turn in a low cross for his first goal since returning to the club.

James then turned scorer himself to smash past Bernd Leno following a brilliant passing move involving Havertz, Marcos Alonso, Mount and Lukaku as we proved too good for Arsenal to handle, with only a brilliant save from Leno denying Lukaku a second goal and the Blues a bigger winning margin which would in no way have flattered us.

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Chelsea 3

It was fitting that we matched our record of six consecutive away league derby wins against our fiercest of London rivals. They may not play at ‘Three Point Lane’ anymore, but there was a sense of deja vu as we made the journey home with three goals and three points in our pocket.

It was Tottenham who had the better of the opening 45 minutes, though, but we held strong at the back before a half-time tactical switch by Tuchel, introducing N’Golo Kante in a three-man midfield, changed the game.

We were on top throughout the second period, Thiago Silva dominating in the Spurs box to head in Alonso’s corner and open the scoring, before Kante’s deflected long-range effort and a fine finish by Antonio Rudiger from Werner’s cut-back ensured we made it six in a row in some style, with a 3-0 victory over Spurs that put us joint-top of the table.

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