The quite remarkable events of the last few days, with the birth and death of a European Super League, plus the excellent results of the last few months in the Champions League and FA Cup have overshadowed just how perilously close Chelsea are to missing out on finishing in the top four.
The loss to West Brom was stunning – but success against Atletico Madrid either side of that game meant it was soon forgotten.
The draw with Brighton yesterday also doesn’t feel too damaging – considering just before kickoff the club was saved from breaking away from the entire concept of the Champions League anyway.
But looking at the table, and looking at our remaining fixtures, brings things sharply into focus. Everton are probably out of striking distance now, but Tottenham Liverpool and West Ham are all hot on our tail. We have 6 games remaining now, and we’re running out of margin for error.
Things get very serious, very soon, This weekend we face West Ham, level on 55 points with us. Lose that, and things are desperate. Even a draw would give Tottenham and Liverpool the chance to draw level with us.
Even if we win it, things don’t get any easier. A desperate Fulham will throw everything at us to avoid relegation a week later – and that game is sandwiched between our European semi-finals against Real Madrid.
After that? Man City away. Then Arsenal, then Leicester. Then an FA Cup final. Then Aston Villa on the final day. The fact that that is probably our easiest remaining game tells you everything you need to know.
The celebrations are over now – and the intense final stretch of the season can begin in earnest. We need to get our eye on the ball, as soon as possible.