Christmas is over, and so is any optimism about Chelsea's title hopes after dropping more points at home to Brighton earlier this week. When your own manager throws in the towel, things start to look bleak indeed.
Chelsea's season is in danger of being derailed by injuries and Covid - and that spate of bad luck has translated to the pitch, which has seen some poor displays.
The Blues have drawn three of their last five league games - all against teams in mid-table - with their tendency to capitulate costing them dear. They've now dropped 11 points from winning positions this season - that's already more than they surrendered in the whole of the last campaign, which was 10.
Chelsea's Premier League title bid is at risk of collapsing already after some poor form
Thomas Tuchel appeared to wave the white flag in the race for the league crown this week
So worrying signs for Chelsea, and you would have to wonder if they would have produced this record had their £98million signing Romelu Lukaku hadn't suffered a hamstring injury, or had his side not been hit by one of the worst Covid outbreaks in the top flight.
Whatever the case, it just isn't working out for Chelsea this season, despite making such a promising start by winning four of their first five games. They are eight points behind Manchester City and now dealt another cruel injury blow - Reece James limping out of the Brighton clash on crutches, following news that Ben Chilwell is out for the season after an ACL injury.
Tuchel - tipped by so many to bring home the Premier League this term after clinching the Champions League last season - appears to have given up hope of title glory following the draw with the Seagulls. He insists the team would be 'stupid' to think they are still in the running with injury and Covid woes racking up.
'How should we be in [the race]?' he said after the 1-1 stalemate. 'We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
Chelsea have squandered 11 points from winning positions in a decline of defensive stability
'Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
'We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries and just play, and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.'
For proof of Chelsea's plight, look no further than the stats from their draw with Brighton. Graham Potter's men, down in 10th place and with just one win in their last 13 matches, managed more shots than the home side.
So it wasn't a massive shock when Danny Welbeck popped up with a stoppage-time equaliser at Stamford Bridge after the visitors had carved out 18 chances, staying in the game after Lukaku's opener and remaining patient until the end.
And that won't be a huge surprise to Chelsea fans either, who have become used to the team cheaply squandering points of late - a plight that appeared to begin with their 3-2 lost to West Ham at the start of the month.
Chelsea have faced 21 shots on target in their last five games, which is mid-table standard
Since that game on December 4, which the Blues were leading twice before the Hammers pegged them back to clinch a win in the dying minutes, there has been a notable drop off in quality - both up front and at the back.
Chelsea have had the third-highest amount of shots since that period with 87, but rank 11th when it comes to shot conversion (11 per cent), putting them in the same company as Aston Villa and Southampton, in stats shown by Opta.
But most concerning is their lapses in concentration at the other end.
Tuchel's side have faced 21 shots on target in the five Premier League games since losing to West Ham, working out at 3.5 per game. This means they are allowing nearly as many efforts on goal as Crystal Palace, Watford and Newcastle.
Chelsea are facing a tough period coming up, all with a worsening injury and Covid situation
This shoddy defensive record during the same time frame has seen them concede eight goals, but it extends beyond just the Premier League - the frailty has bled into other competitions too.
In their last 10 games overall, Chelsea have let in 13 goals. This might be a shock for the team who has conceded the joint second-fewest in the top flight this season, but it's clear the squad have gradually dropped their fine standards from the start of the campaign in August.
And all of this with title rivals Liverpool to come next. With the team in poor form defensively, it will be painful for Tuchel to know he will be without Thiago Silva, James, Andreas Christensen and Chilwell for the visit of the Reds.
Should Chelsea allow Jurgen Klopp's side to beat them and leapfrog them in the table - having played one game more than the Merseyside outfit - then the league could be all but lost.
Thomas Tuchel's men will show whether they have the resilience to stay in this title race
Manchester City are in electrifying form and don't seem to know how to drop points - and they welcome the Blues to the Etihad in just two weeks' time.
For Chelsea, they face a defining period which could make or break their season. They play Liverpool before two Carabao Cup semi-final legs either side of their trip to City, before jetting off for the Club World Cup.
That mini-break in Abu Dhabi won't come at an ideal time at all for Tuchel, who is fretting over his frail squad without having to play in an additional competition overseas.
It won't be long into 2022 before we really see what this Chelsea team is made of and whether they can overcome this sticky patch of form - and put the curse of injuries and illness behind them.
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