Every time Chelsea have topped the Premier League in the October International Break
(Photo by Phil Shephard-Lewis/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

For Chelsea fans at the moment, looking at the Premier League table should bring an air of both smugness and trepidation - after all, being top of the league is no mean feat, even after just seven games.

But from the glass half-empty perspective, being in this situation may not be as rosy as it first seems, especially when you look back in time to when the Blues’ have been in the exact same scenario previously.

That's not to say it's a bad thing to be at the top at any point in the season, but it's worth looking back at when it's happened before for the Blues.

Here are the seven occasions in which Chelsea have been setting the pace when the October international break came around - as well as what happened next.

2003/04 Season

Simply hearing the words ‘2003/04 season’ will likely bring up a plethora of emotions for Chelsea fans. After all, it was the first campaign in which Roman Abramovich was owner and saw the West London side fall short to rivals Arsenal in the race for the title.

After Matchweek 7, however, it was the Blues who were top, following an unbeaten start to the season - though admittedly they were only in first as a result of a superior goal difference to their North London foes.

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As most people will know, come May 2004 Arsene Wenger’s side became the first ever to go invincible, without losing a game so, while that occasion doesn't set the best precedent, it ought to be taken with at least a pinch of salt due to the exceptional circumstances.

2005/06 Season

In a more positive memory for Chelsea fans, it was then-manager Jose Mourinho’s team who were in first place, ahead of a surprising team in Charlton who ended up finishing the season in 13th place.

As for the Blues, the Premier League trophy headed to Stamford Bridge for a second consecutive season, with Mourinho’s side finishing an impressive eight points above second-place Manchester United.

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During the course of that season Chelsea were only not top of the table after the first and second gameweeks, leading the way every single match day following that.

2008/09 Season

In one of the seasons which will not be as fondly remembered by fans of the West London side, it was Luiz Felipe Scolari of all people who had led Chelsea to the summit by 5 October 2008.

Things quickly started going downhill for Scolari just a few weeks later though, and he was sacked in February 2009 following a poor run of results.

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Although with Guus Hiddink in charge there was an excellent end to the season, with 33 points out of a possible 39 picked up, it wasn’t enough to knock either Man United or Liverpool out of first and second respectively.

2009/10 Season

For the second year running the Blues were on top going into the brief hiatus in October, following big wins against the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool early on under Carlo Ancelotti.

Chelsea fans will fondly remember this season as the one in which the club won the domestic double of the Premier League and the FA Cup for the first time in their history, even though the title race did go down to the final day.

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It was, as was so often the case in the first decade of the 21st century, Man United who were fighting for the top spot, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side fell one point short of a Chelsea side who at the time set a new record for goals scored in a single season with 103.

2010/11 Season

It was three years in a row that Chelsea had the upper hand during the October break, this time after Ancelotti’s team had only lost one game out of the opening seven.

Unfortunately for the Italian coach, it ended up being a season to forget as, despite a seemingly strong second place finish, he was sacked in May 2011, just a year after he had won the double for the club.

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Whether such a fate would be delivered to Thomas Tuchel is unknown, but it seems likely there would be considerable backlash if it were the case nowadays, although with Abramovich it seems almost anything goes.

2012/13 Season

On this occasion, Chelsea’s strong start to the season was definitely not reminiscent of the remainder of their campaign, as they stumbled through an extremely rocky patch, not winning a single game in November.

The season ended with Sir Alex Ferguson lifting the Premier League trophy on his final day of management at United, with Rafa Benitez’s team languishing 14 points behind the Champions in third place.

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It was another season that forms part of the pattern which Chelsea fans may be slightly concerned about as their side head into this current break above their rivals.

2014/15 Season

Finally, and the most recent time in which Chelsea were top of the Premier League heading into the second international break of the season, was the season in which Mourinho returned to the Bridge.

As most fans will remember, this was a true masterclass by the Portuguese coach in how to win England’s top flight: so dominant were his team that they were top of the table after every single one of the 38 matchweeks.

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Things quickly took a turn at the beginning of the following campaign, with the so-called 'Special One' leaving the club in 16th place when he departed in December 2015.

Now, of course all these examples may not be the most uplifting read for Blues’ supporters given there is only a 43% success rate after being in this position at this stage.

That said, it would be difficult to find many fans that would have complained about being above the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool at this point if you’d have told them back in August, especially given the run of games they’ve gone through to get there.

All that’s left to do now is see if they can change that success rate to 50% when May 2022 comes round…

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