Antonio Conte’s damning and withering verdict of Chelsea’s performance as they threw away two points against West Ham has left even more question marks hanging over his future - with any hope of Champions League football next season now looking forlorn.
Three goals from across that spectrum between ‘sublime’ and ‘ridiculous’ gave Tottenham their first away victory over Chelsea in almost 30 years, and allayed any fears that the Premier League champions might catch their London rivals in the race for continental qualification.
Chelsea’s poor form since Christmas has gone almost under the radar. It has seen us fall from third on the coattails of United to fifth and the ignominy of following another league-winning season by failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at Brighton at the weekend has quietened the critics who suggested there was a crisis building at Stamford Bridge but it hasn’t ended speculation about their search for a striker after manager Antonio Conte challenged Michy Batshuayi to fill the void – but also left the door open for him to leave.
Eden Hazard maintaining his fitness and form is clearly key to Chelsea hanging on to the coattails of what passes for a title race this season. Getting him to stay at Chelsea long-term is central to any future success the London side might challenge for.
On the morning of yesterday’s match, I had a heartening message from a Mourinhoan in Lisbon. “He is so incredibly desperate to beat them today. Apparently, he’s been urging all the players to have ‘no mercy’.”
Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea battled to a 3-3 draw with Roma to stay top of Champions League Group C. Chelsea had surrendered a two-goal lead to trail 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining after former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko’s quick-fire double.