Chelsea must enjoy a happy festive period if they are to turn their season around and qualify for the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho’s struggling champions have endured a terrible start to the new campaign, winning just four of their first 13 Premier League games.
In contrast, rivals Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United have established themselves as challengers to take the Blues’ crown which was only won back in May.
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And, to make matters even worse, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City have stunned supporters and pundits to lead the chase for the final Champions League positions.
The way Chelsea waltzed to the title under Mourinho’s tutelage last term suggested the Londoners would be set to dominate English football for years to come.
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However, that dream has quickly turned into nightmare, with new signings struggling, rumours of a revolt rife and Mourinho experiencing the worst run of his managerial career.
The highlight of the season came long ago - a 2-0 victory over Arsenal that was meant to signal an end to their plight. Since then, results and the mood around Stamford Bridge has only plummeted further.
There has been talk of a return for Carlo Ancelotti, still out of work after leaving Real Madrid in the summer, or even a shock return to management for Brendan Rodgers, once a coach during the old Mourinho era.
Such a shocking run of results have left many fearing whether Chelsea will manage to make it back into Europe with their rivals clearly eager to capitalise on their misfortune.
Leicester have been the surprise package with the goals of Jamie Vardy coming to the fore. The 28-year-old is currently the top scorer in the top flight ahead of Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Aguero and Olivier Giroud.
Tottenham, on the other hand, are unbeaten since their opening day defeat, and with Harry Kane beginning to shine the Lilywhites stand every chance of qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since Harry Redknapp occupied the helm.
The last time Chelsea finished outside of the top four they managed to sneak back into Europe’s top-tier competition by winning it in 2012.
Such a feat looks unlikely this season, though, with their hopes hinging on Mourinho's ability to reinvigorate his squad and inspire them back to where they belong.
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