Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table on Wednesday night. Antonio Conte’s unstoppable Blues nipped past a stubborn Sunderland to go six points clear, and now it looks like little can stop the west London club at the moment. That victory makes it nine on the bounce in the Premier League, including comeback wins against Manchester City and Spurs. Despite the horror show that saw them defeated at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season, Chelsea look like one of the most fearsome sides in Europe on current form.
Even without Eden Hazard, Chelsea found a way to win once again. Just as they did against West Bromwich Albion last weekend. Conte’s juggernaut continues to obliterate any team that dare get in their way, whether through the force of Diego Costa, magic of Eden Hazard or guile of Cesc Fabregas, they are irresistible at the moment. Several teams will have periods of fine form throughout the course of a season – resulting in calls that they are nailed-on for the title – but few teams will look quite as dominant as Chelsea.
Bookies are shortening their odds further as Chelsea roll into a comfortable run of Premier League fixtures over the festive period. A trip to Selhurst Park followed by visits of Bournemouth and Stoke present three winnable games for the Blues. A 10 win streak could easily become 13, even before they visit Tottenham at the start of 2017. Perhaps most worryingly for the rest of the Premier League, Chelsea have built up such a trail of momentum with a squad that is clearly flawed. January could yet see Conte strengthen his options further.
Obviously this run of form will come to an end at some point. The greatest challenge of all for Chelsea will be how they deal with that failure. For some sides it could cause a complete collapse, but with the way Chelsea are playing, that is hard to envisage. Injuries will strike, whilst suspensions will force Conte to use a weakened team at some point. Chelsea, though, have proven of late that this is of little concern. Willian has impressed from the bench, Cesc Fabregas aided victory at Manchester City – even the players who have not played all that regularly have been excellent.
Chelsea boast a lethal striker and an organised defence. That alone makes them genuine competitors for the title. When you add the dynamism of the midfield and the outstanding talents available in the forward line, the Blues look the complete unit. This, all led by one of the world’s very best managers, is a cocktail for Premier League success. The flaws are evident in the Chelsea squad – even the most ardent Blue would admit that – but they look streets ahead of the rest of the Premier League this season.
The title race will ebb and flow from here on in, but Chelsea are clear favourites – the crown is theirs to lose.