Following their 4-1 defeat to Watford on Monday night, Graeme Le Saux gives his verdict on Antonio Conte's future at Chelsea...
"It seems as though they’ve lost that knack of picking up points when still playing below par, which is vital for any side that harbours Premier League title aspirations."
With so much negativity surrounding Chelsea's current predicament, let's look first at the positives. Despite recent form, they're still only six points behind Manchester United with a decent goal difference. Their win ratio isn't actually that bad but the games that they have lost have cost them dearly. I think it's really as much about who they've lost to as much as anything else and that's what has compounded the speculation surrounding Antonio Conte, especially given their level of consistency last season.
It seems as though they've lost that knack of picking up points when still playing below par, which is vital for any side that harbours Premier League title aspirations. You look at Manchester City over the last few weeks, they've gone from cricket scores to grinding out results.
Obviously the team doesn't look as settled as it did last season and for a side like Chelsea, with their history of high managerial turnover, they're going to be under the microscope - a very sensitive one at that.
If you cast your mind back to their previous title-winning campaign, they had a blip when they lost to Arsenal & Liverpool and drew away at Swansea, suddenly everyone was wondering if the manager would still be around at Christmas.
From a footballing perspective, I firmly believe it should only be your final option to change the manager. With the quality that Chelsea have, they should be well capable of winning at least 75% of their remaining 12 matches. Don't forget that they're still in the FA Cup and the Champions League and have a fantastic tie against Barcelona to look forward to.
It's a high pressure environment but they're still in good shape, they need to focus on the positives despite all the surrounding negative noise and you'd like to think that Conte has some credit in the bank with the powers that be after what he achieved last season.