The return to form of Chelsea has been as eagerly anticipated as Luke Skywalker’s reappearance with a lightsaber. In both cases the public have had to wait until deep into December. But it appears Darth Mourinho is ready to bounce back after claiming his side can still finish in the top four.
Facing surprise title challengers Leicester next is a great place to prove that point. It could also be his last stand.
Confidence has been in short supply at Stamford Bridge this season. Even Jose has been visibly shaken at times. Previously he has called off the title and even conceded he couldn’t promise fourth place. One Champions League victory later, which ensured his team qualified for the next round as group winners, he has altered that outlook.
It’s clear from recent press conferences that Mourinho doesn’t carefully choose his words. Unless it’s a ‘no comment’ moment. Speaking with his heart often leaves him looking silly. The claim he could still qualify for the Champions League isn’t too outlandish, though.
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David Moyes secured a Champions League place for his Everton side with just 61 points in 2005. With the remaining 23 matches Chelsea would need to collect 2 points per game to reach that target. It looks like it’ll be a season where a low points haul will be enough to win the title, let alone finish in the top four.
Everyone beating everyone makes for an exciting league, it also translates into a spread of points. It’s what makes the title so hard to call.
Nobody looks like they’ll create a gap at the top. Any sort of form from any team in the table will see them climb the standings fast. We know Chelsea have the quality to collect points.
The Monday Night Football game could be a turning point in the fortunes of both clubs. Everyone expects Leicester to drop at some point. For this to occur, a loss of belief has to set in. The fates have aligned to present Jose Mourinho with the chance to resurrect his team at the same time The Foxes are about to embark on a tough run.
After Chelsea Leicester face both Everton and Liverpool away, before hosting Manchester City. If Mourinho starts the revival on Monday, it’s conceivable that Claudio Ranieri could see a reversal of his side’s current momentum.
Of course, the former Chelsea boss is aware of this and has managed expectation accordingly. In an act to prevent any pressure building on his players, he will only offer the answer that his target for the season is 40 points. And has also supported Mourinho’s claim Chelsea can finish in the top four, telling Sky Sports: :Chelsea are Chelsea and Mourinho is Mourinho. I’m sure by the end, they will be in the top four.”
A decisive victory for one of the teams could act as a pivotal moment in this season’s Premier League. A crumbling Leicester would open up space at the top and the rest of the clubs would fear facing a resurgent Chelsea side.
But another defeat for Mourinho could finally see Roman Abramovich lose his faith in the Portuguese manager and concede this season is a lost cause. At the top, Claudio Ranieri would continue coasting to the 40 point benchmark.
Will Chelsea awaken or will the force remain with the Foxes?