NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew has dismissed Chelsea’s ability to navigate the entire season without defeat as the Magpies bid to end their unbeaten start at St James’ Park tomorrow lunchtime.
The Blues have made a blistering start to the campaign and boast a six-point lead at the Premier League summit, have won their Champions League group with a game to spare and have reached the Capital One Cup quarter-final where they will face Derby County later this month.
Such form has drawn comparisons to Arsenal’s so-called Invincibles, who went the entire 2003/4 league season unbeaten to become the first top-flight side to achieve such a feat in a 38-game campaign.
But while Pardew insists the Stamford Bridge club have so far shown all the hallmarks of emulating the Gunners, the former West Ham manager has poured scorn on their ability to remain unbeaten across all tournaments.
“I think it’s difficult, obviously Arsenal have done it and Chelsea have come pretty close before,” said Pardew.
“But not in all competitions, that is impossible and I think Jose [Mourinho] has admitted that. But they’re making a very good job of it at the moment.
“It’s the best Chelsea team that I’ve ever seen and I’ve watched them since I was about 12 so I know them pretty well. I think Jose is pretty pleased with what he’s got.”
Chelsea crushed Tottenham on Wednesday night after an uninspiring stalemate at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light at the weekend allowed revitalised reigning champions Manchester City to cut their lead at the top.
St James’ Park has not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Chelsea in recent years having won just once on their previous four visits to Tyneside, while Newcastle have triumphed in the last two.
Last season’s reverse saw French striker Loic Remy – on loan at Newcastle from Queens Park Rangers at the time – settle matters with a last-gasp second after Yoan Gouffran’s opener in a game which ended Chelsea’s six-match winning streak.
Despite Jose Mourinho’s side – who have leading scorer Diego Costa available again after suspension – only dropping points in three matches this term, which includes trips to Manchester City and United, Pardew is adamant a stumble is inevitable and is confident his charges can exploit Chelsea’s vulnerabilities.
“We need to threaten Chelsea because they look terrific,” he added.
“They are a great team who are strong and organised. Somewhere along the line Chelsea will slip up and hopefully we can exploit any weaknesses they have. Mentally we are in a strong position.”
■ How Chelsea’s start to the season compares with Arsenal’s Invincibles
■ After 14 Premier League games: