Despite the club’s well-publicised struggles this season, Chelsea’s recent 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace proved a statement of intent; the hectic fixture staged the biggest sign yet that the Blues are on the road to recovery.
Goals from Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa saw Guus Hiddink’s men pull off arguably their best result of the season.
Considering Palace’s superb recent form and the two mediocre draws that Chelsea mustered prior to the affair, very few predicted such a rampant display.
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Delight at Stamford Bridge rose even more so when Hiddink insisted the club’s chances of clambering into the top four remain.
According to BBC Sport, the Dutchman explained: "It's very difficult to get there. It's possible but there's a long way to go."
However, whilst the ex-Netherlands manager did concede the difficulty of the task, Chelsea's hopes of a Champions League spot are but an impossible dream. From what the Blues have displayed this campaign, despite recent improvements, their hopes are frankly fantastical.
On the back of such an impressive victory, pundits and supporters alike have been swift to herald the resurgent Blues.
Equally, though, the club’s victories over Arsenal and Norwich City earlier in the season saw similar comments made that also proved misplaced. The return of Chelsea has been inaccurately declared on numerous occasions and subsequently, one result cannot constitute such high praise.
One single win should not prove substance for Blues supporters to anticipate the Champions League theme ringing throughout Stamford Bridge next season.
Unfortunately, it appears the club has become so used to gracing Europe’s elite competition that they are struggling to come to terms with not taking part next year. Positives this season have been so few and far between that one win has seen hopes effervescent.
Furthermore, statistics and history see Chelsea’s hopes of Champions League football diminish even further.
With the Stamford Bridge side a yawning 13 points off the pace, they find themselves mixing with relegation candidates as opposed to continental hopefuls.
In fact, no side in Premier League history has finished higher than eighth after amassing just 20 points from their first 19 games and that wouldn’t even earn them a Europa League place.
Chelsea possess a squad that far exceeds their placing and if any team can pull off the miracle it would be them, but it’s hard to argue with the cold, hard facts.
After all, although Hiddink has introduced a number of positive changes, there is no quick fix to the club’s mid-table dwellings. If the Blues fail to win their next league fixture, ambitions will soon nose dive as they have done on so many occasions this year.
Improvements are visible, there can be no denying it. Slaying Alan Pardew’s Eagles in their own back yard proved the quality remains.
However, with Chelsea having disappointed so many times this season and the statistics proving painful reading, on current from, hopes of the top four prove nothing more than a grandiose fantasy.
It’s a hard pill to swallow for fans, but the club must face kissing goodbye to the Champions League or become consumed by delusional aspirations and disappointment.
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