Chelsea will set a new club mark this weekend as we take on Everton in our earliest start to a new league campaign.
With a six-week break planned for November and December when the World Cup takes place in Qatar, the Premier League season starts a little earlier this year with the opening round of matches taking place on the first weekend of August.
This means Chelsea’s visit to Goodison Park for the tea-time opener on August 6 will come a day earlier than our current earliest league start and will be just the fifth league game the Blues have played in the first 10 days of August.
Aug. 7, 1999 – Sunderland
Since its inception in 1992, the Premier League season has typically started on the second or third weekend in August. However, with the Champions League expanding to two group stages in 1999/2000 and the European Championship looming the following summer, there seemed to be an impetus to start things a little earlier in the last year of the last millennium.
On a glorious Saturday afternoon, 7 August 1999, the Blues began the new season with a scintillating performance at Stamford Bridge against a Sunderland side who had been promoted from the First Division by a record 105 points last season.
The jump in quality proved too much for the Black Cats, as a goal each from Gianfranco Zola and Tore Andre Flo and a brace from future Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet, including a memorable scissor-kick volley, secured a comprehensive 4-0 win sealed.
8 August 2015 – Swansea City
Sixteen years later, we launched our campaign a day later, on 8 August, on a wave of optimism after leading from start to finish in our Premier League winning campaign last season.
Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan for the champions in our home game against Swansea. Despite leading 2-1 at half-time from an Oscar free-kick and a deflected Willian shot, the Blues failed to shine and were pushed back after the break when Thibaut Courtois was sent off for a foul on Bafetimbi Gomis, who converted the resulting Penalty.
Chelsea’s 10 men held onto a point but it was an early sign of the struggles we would endure as The Bridge this season as we managed just five wins at home and finished 10th.
August 9, 1998 – Coventry City
As the 1997/98 season began, Chelsea were looking to repeat their FA Cup triumph that had ended a 26-year wait for a major honour. However, a disappointing result in one of our least favorite away places showed that we still had work to do to become a real league contender.
We’ve won just once in nine Premier League games at Highfield Road and although we took the lead twice that day when Frank Sinclair scored a fine solo and Tore Andre Flo went home on his debut, Dion Dublin scored one Hat trick including two of them The last seven minutes secured Coventry a 3-2 win.
Aug. 09, 1969 – Liverpool
With England looking to defend the World Cup in Mexico the following summer, the 1969 football season got underway much earlier than usual and seemed to be catching up with Chelsea as Dave Sexton’s side got off to a poor start to the new season.
The Blues had not won a league game at Anfield since 1935 and it proved to be another sobering afternoon when a brace from Ian St John helped the Reds to a 4-1 win, with Ian Hutchinson our only goal scored
We’ve only managed one win in our first nine league games but our form improved as the season progressed as we finished third in the league and won the FA Cup for the first time.