Chelsea will be fearing another case of the winter blues ahead of second Manchester United clash

 

Having started the season with seven wins from eight league games, and without a single defeat in the Premier League, Chelsea have now lost their last two fixtures.

It was a fine start - something Chelsea have come accustomed to since Roman Abramovich took ownership of the club. The Blues have been either top of the Premier League or second after eight games of the season in seven of the last nine campaigns.

Yet another trend of late is a perceived tail off over the chillier months - the winter blues as they have become known.

Defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last week in Europe, Chelsea's first Champions League defeat since lifting the trophy in May, was swiftly followed by a 3-2 home defeat to title rivals Manchester United.

Tonight, they meet United again, this time in the Capital One Cup. Many changes to the team-sheets of both sides are expected, but a third straight defeat would be worrying for manager Roberto Di Matteo. Chelsea haven't lost three consecutive games inside a season for over a decade. The last time it happened was in September/October 2002 - with defeats to West Ham, Viking and Liverpool, games featuring the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola and Jody Morris.

Di Matteo has looked to alleviate concerns that Chelsea will melt like a snowman in the sun over the coming months. Speaking after the United game on Sunday he said: "I didn't see any struggle in our team. We know we have a good and strong team. We just have to ride this moment." He will be hoping they can - in recent years winter slumps have ultimately accounted for the sackings of former Chelsea managers Andre Villas-Boas and Phil Scolari.

But is the notion that Chelsea slip on the ice of the winter months a fair one?

During Jose Mourinho's time in charge between 2004 and 2007, Chelsea were first or second in the league after eight games in all three seasons. They had either retained or improved on that position at the half-way stage of the season, 19 games, in every instance.

The story after Mourinho's departure is different. In three of the five completed seasons since the Special One left, Chelsea have been in a worse league position after 19 games than they were after eight.

That includes the two most recent seasons. In 2010/11 Chelsea were top with 22 points from a possible 27. After 19 games they had collected 34 points from 57 and were fourth. Last season they were third after eight games and fifth after 19 - a position they failed to improve on by the end of the campaign.

Under Carlo Ancelotti in the 2009/10 season they were at the top of league after both eight and 19 games. The season before that they had slipped from first to second.

Rocked by Mourinho's departure early into the season, Chelsea were seventh in the league after eight games of the 2007/08 season. They had recovered to third by the mid-way point.

This season, Chelsea were top of the table by a clear four points after eight games. Following defeat to United at the weekend that lead has been cut to just one. Chelsea's 19th league game will also be their last of 2012 and will be away against Everton. History suggests there's no guarantee they'll still be top of the table at the turn of the year.

Additional research by Ewen Lyall.

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015