Victory at Liverpool stretched Chelsea's lead in the Premier League, and left Ralph Ellis wondering just how much Jose Mourinho's team can achieve this season...
"Somebody asked Mourinho if they really could match Arsenal’s 2003-4 Invincibles by going through the season unbeaten and he said it wasn’t possible. (It’s 8.615/2 if you disagree). Although you do begin to wonder who could take three points off them, and how?"
It is getting on for 18 years since The Full Monty made screen immortals of Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn. When main character Gaz wanted to show his fellow male strippers part of their routine, he explained it simply - just take a step forward and put your hand in the air like the Arsenal Back Four.
Everybody instantly understood - and there probably hasn't been as famous a defence in Premier League football since. But watching Chelsea squeeze the life out of Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday I started to wonder if Jose Mourinho is creating a modern equivalent.
The dance steps would have to be a bit more complicated now to include the influence of Nemanja Matic as the holding midfield man. But looking at the line-up of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta you couldn't help thinking there was history in the making.
When the final whistle blew and victory was secure, the four of them together with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had their own separate huddle on the Anfield pitch. You could see the unity of that little group and the pride they took in the work they had just done together.
With nearly a third of the season gone, Chelsea already have an iron grip on the Barclays Premier League title. With an eight point lead over reigning champions Manchester City they are just 1.211/5 to win it.
After the game Mourinho was purring about the character of his team, and how he was never afraid if they fell behind in a game. Somebody asked him if they really could match Arsenal's 2003-4 Invincibles by going through the season unbeaten and he said it wasn't possible. (It's 8.615/2 if you disagree). Although you do begin to wonder who could take three points off them, and how?
The work ethic that runs through this Chelsea team is exceptional. From the leadership of Terry at the back to the tireless effort of Diego Costa at the front, they understand that talent doesn't win games until you've earned the right to show it off. Costa especially bullied Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren all afternoon and earned his winning goal.
I like the way Chelsea's manager does his team talk at the pre-match hotel, then has a rota for one of his players to make the final speech before they go out. On Saturday it was Matic's turn. "He said if the target is to be champions you have to come to these stadiums and win," revealed Azpilicueta afterwards.
Mourinho keeps fantastic consistency of selection. His team are full of seasoned professionals who keep playing despite minor injuries. They have learned how to handle the demands of playing up to 60 games a season and still maintain their standard of performance.
It makes you wonder what they can achieve. Favourites for the Capital One Cup at 2.486/4, they are also 5.95/1 favourites for the FA Cup. Then there's the holy grail of recapturing the Champions League, where they are currently fourth in the betting at 7.613/2.
Could they even go better than Manchester United's immortal 1999 treble team and win all four, for which they are available to back at 67.066/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook? Now that really would be the Full Monty.