For the first time in his career, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is about to go two successive seasons without a trophy. But he is already making plans to prevent that.
Following last weekend's loss to Sunderland and the stalemate with Atletico Madrid in mid-week, Mourinho, and indeed Chelsea, face a crisis not envisaged and definitely not welcome at this crucial period of the season.
Domestically, Ramires is likely to be suspended for the rest of the season but Mourinho has enough in reserve: John Obi Mikel, Nemanja Matic, Frank Lampard and the returning Marco van Ginkel.
In Europe, he is missing the services of John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard (suspension), Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah (ineligible), Petr Cech, John Terry (injury) while Samuel Eto'o and Eden Hazard struggle for fitness.
This could not have come at the most importune time, with Chelsea chasing Liverpool for the title and a place in the Champions League final. With the long list of injuries and the reality that even a win over Liverpool on Sunday does not guarantee Chelsea the Premier League, Mourinho is reported considering fielding a somewhat weakened side against Liverpool at Anfield.
The logic is simple: reserve your the best players for the crunch tie against Atletico and hope the 'reserves' can put up a good display against the Reds.
When you consider that these 'reserves' include cup-tied duo Matic and Salah, veteran Lampard, underrated professional Mikel, lanky forward Demba Ba and others, then you begin to wonder if Mourinho is serious about his threat to field a weakened side.
A side that can boast that much quality is not weak by any standard! Mourinho, the pragmatic coach that he is, is, however, probably putting all his eggs in one basket by resting key players Oscar, Willian and Hazard ahead of Wednesday's game.
While this is good because it is no longer realistic that Chelsea can claim the Premiership (except a monumental collapse befalls Manchester City and Liverpool, which is not likely), it is most definitely risky.
Should Chelsea lose on Sunday and go on to win on Wednesday, the Special One would be vindicated. Win on Sunday and win on Wednesday, talk of a double may return. Also acceptable would be a win on Sunday and a loss on Wednesday because they may still hunt for the Premier League.
But football being football, Chelsea may lose on Sunday and still lose to Diego Costa and co. Where then would be the wisdom in Mourinho's decision making?
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