CHELSEA 2 ASTON VILLA 1 Matt Hughes GIVEN that his favourite musician is Bryan Adams it should come as no surprise that Jose Mourinho has little interest in collecting records. Chelsea seem to set a new benchmark every time they play, with this victory making them the first side to win seven successive games at the start of the Premiership, but their manager prefers to count the points.
At times it appears as if the ultra-efficient Chelsea machine are playing by numbers and their balance-sheet must make happy reading. While the club spent Saturday peddling some propaganda about attracting their biggest "home" crowd since 1986, Mourinho preferred to concentrate on more salient statistics, the seven wins that leave Chelsea six points clear at the top and ten ahead of Manchester United, and the 14 goals they have scored in the process, four more than their nearest rivals. Not bad for a team of dullards.
"I'm not for records - I'm just for victories and points and trying to be champions again," Mourinho said. "It's nice for Chelsea's name to be there with the records but it's not important for me, although it's nice to see that we have 14 goals in seven matches and nobody has scored more goals than us. If anyone is boring, I don't think it is Chelsea."
Whether Chelsea's dominance has made the Premiership boring is a different matter entirely and there appears to be a certain inevitability about the champions' march to the title. It is now 36 matches since Mourinho's side lost in the league and the odds on them surpassing Arsenal's 49-game unbeaten run will shorten with every passing week.
Chelsea had little option but to concentrate on the present against Aston Villa as the visiting team gave them their most difficult game of the season.
Having pledged to be positive, David O'Leary was true to his word and was rewarded with the first goal scored against Chelsea this season, Luke Moore beating Petr Cech just before half-time. Their joy was shortlived, however, as they allowed Frank Lampard's free kick through their defensive wall and past Thomas Sorensen two minutes later.
Chelsea stepped up the pressure in the second half but found no way through until substitute Didier Drogba won a penalty under pressure from Olof Mellberg and Lampard converted the spot kick for his fifth goal of the season.
For all of Lampard's finishing, the omnipresent Michael Essien was again Chelsea's driving force, even when exiled to left back for the final half-hour. "Frank was fantastic and deserved to be the man of the match, but I think Essien was awesome," Mourinho said. "The way he played, the way he pushed the team, the way he finished the game, playing as a defensive left back but also pushing into midfield."
Mourinho also reserved warm words and a big hug for O'Leary, though the Irishman would not divulge the details of their special relationship.
O'Leary is concerned visitors are arriving at Stamford Bridge already beaten mentally. "Teams shouldn't leave thinking they've done well with a narrow defeat," he said. "I don't want my players to be happy losing 2-1. I wanted points here."
Liverpool at Anfield is next on Chelsea's agenda, with Mourinho keen to set the record straight. © The Times, London