As Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City's title aspirations seemingly wither and die, Chelsea power on, looking invincible and champions elect - priced at just 1/6 to do so. But Stephen Tudor is having none of it - find out why Mournho's men will be mournfully singing the blues come May.
"Chelsea’s last six fixtures contain Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, and three teams in Palace, West Brom and Sunderland you would expect to be fighting the drop. It is the equivalent of being bullied, tripped, and punched in your 26th mile."
The Southampton Factor
Every Ali needs a Foreman. Every Senna a Prost. Right now the only team within touching distance of Chelsea are an over-achieving Saints. Taking nothing away from Koeman's men who have been nothing short of sensational so far but every team needs a rival of equal status to push them onwards, inspiring them to perform at their highest level even when the body and mind says no. Or at Stoke on a wet and windy Wednesday. Acutely aware of this, Mourinho has already started talking up Southampton as title contenders. He doesn't mean it.
Costa could cost them
The Brazilian, sorry, Spanish international has already reached double figures this term and has taken to the physical demands of the Premier League like an extremely angry duck to water. A significant upgrade on Torres he has proven to be a formidable mixture of presence and poacher but already his goals and value to the team can be viewed as over-reliance. Should his hamstring and pelvic troubles worsen as the winter fixtures pile up the Blues might find themselves minus a critical focal point when they need it most.
Silverware, silverware, everywhere
Jose Mourinho's magnificent ego is presumably bruised by the fact that Chelsea's sole Champions League triumph was achieved under another man's watch. With a squad he considers on a par with his fearsome mid-2000s group the temptation to go all-out for European glory - especially if Chelsea still top the league in early spring - may prove to be not such a special decision. Should they reach the quarter-final stage their league 'distractions' either side will be Manchester United and Arsenal, hardly the opposition you want to rest Hazard and co for.
Jose vs Fans
Mourinho's standing as a messiah to the Stamford Bridge faithful took an unfortunate wobble recently when he criticised the passion and volume of their support. Should the Chelsea machine break down at any stage this season and the performances slip he will surely then be made aware of their vocal abilities. His comments have been put down as a motivational misstep - for now - but Jose would be wise to appreciate that no manager has ever won the league with discord in the stands.
A daunting run-in
There is a school of thought that suggests Chelsea have yet to be properly examined, a theory their hard-fought victory at Anfield on Saturday goes some way to disprove. Even so, it's hard to disagree that their toughest tests lie ahead when the finish line is in sight, the legs are jaded, and form reverts to auto-control. Chelsea's last six fixtures contain Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, and three teams in Palace, West Brom and Sunderland you would expect to be fighting the drop. It is the equivalent of being bullied, tripped, and punched in your 26th mile.
The omens are blue. Sky blue
Manchester City - 11/2 to retain the title - may be struggling under the weight of their league crown right now but all omens point to resurgence at the Etihad. Last season City had two points fewer at this stage and were facing a barrage of flak for away defeats to Villa, Sunderland, and, indeed, Chelsea. After the November international break however they returned with a six-goal battering of Spurs and ignited into blistering form that saw them undefeated in the next 14 games. The eight-point deficit won't unduly trouble the champions either. In 2011/12 they hauled the same points tally back on Manchester United with just a month to spare. By comparison their present-day situation can be viewed as neck-and-neck.
Man City 11/2
Man Utd 40/1
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