Eidur's good year and smiles on Cole face

Almost there: the landmarks
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The Independent Online

The first Gud impression

The first Gud impression

Eidur Gudjohnsen scores 15 minutes into Jose Mourinho's reign as Manchester United are beaten 1-0 in the first Premiership match of the season, at Stamford Bridge.

Cole comes of age - at 23

"When he scored, the game finished for him. I need 11 players for defensive organisation and I had just 10." In victory, Mourinho criticises Joe Cole, scorer of the goal that beat Liverpool on 3 October. Cole hasn't looked back.

The winning habit

Chelsea show the ability to bounce back, rebounding from their only League defeat of the season, 1-0 at Manchester City, to hammer Blackburn 4-0.

The reliability of Cech

Thierry Henry scores twice in the 2-2 draw on 12 December. It's a Premiership-record 1,025 minutes and three months before goalkeeper Petr Cech is beaten again, at Norwich. Keeping howlers cost United (Carroll/Howard), Arsenal (Lehmann/Almunia) and Liverpool (Dudek) dearly, highlighting Cech's value.

The luck of Riley

Chelsea profit from referee Mike Riley failing to penalise Tiago for an in-the-box handball. Cole's late goal condemns Liverpool to a 1-0 Anfield defeat on New Year's Day.

Super Frankie strikes again

Frank Lampard's double effort sees off Tottenham - who had earlier famously "parked their team bus in front of goal" in the scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge. Evidence why the goal-scoring midfielder (19 in all this season) is their highest-paid player (about £96,000 a week).

Put your shirt on the title

Arjen Robben's fifth-minute goal on 5 February seals a 1-0 win at Blackburn. Then he is carried off injured. But Chelsea show true grit and grind out the ugly result. Cech even saves a penalty. The players throw their shirts to the travelling fans at the end. Chelsea FC? More like Chelsea United.

Conversion of Gudjohnsen

Despite 19 goals for club and country this season, Gudjohnsen proves more than just a pure striker, as Mourinho transforms him to play in the hole behind the front man.

Up front and personal

Didier Drogba. Their record (£24m) signing hasn't got the volume of goals, but his physical presence has given the likes of Robben, Damien Duff and Cole plenty to feed off.

Robben, the missing link

When fit, the most exciting winger in the country. Chelsea have been unstoppable when he plays. But for injury, he might have been Player of the Year. Man Utd can only think, "What if...?"