Chelsea will be fully aware that any hopes of remaining in the English Premier League title race could be dependent on a winning result against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The Blues were once sitting pretty at the top of the table, but in the space of just a few short weeks, City have pulled away as the runaway leaders in the league, with Pep Guardiola’s team now 11 points clear of second-placed Liverpool (who do have a game in hand).
City are currently on a 12 match winning streak in the league, and part of that successful run included a recent 1-0 victory over Chelsea, who were also disappointingly held to a 1-1 draw against Brighton on Tuesday.
It’s left third-placed Chelsea as many as 12 points behind City even after playing one extra game, and it may already be too late to make up so much lost ground.
Only a catastrophic implosion could seemingly deny City a fourth English title in five years, but Chelsea’s only focus right now will be on reviving a season that has quickly gone off the rails.
Unfortunately for fans of the Blues, though, dejected manager Thomas Tuchel has already admitted there is no joy at the club after failing to win a league match for the sixth time in seven matches on Tuesday.
“[Even] in the reaction of the goal [we scored], you can see that we are tired,” Tuchel told BT Sport. “We are relieved but there is no joy.
“We look tired, and we are. … You can see we are mentally tired. We need some days off, there’s no other solution.”
Chelsea have now failed to win any of their last four Premier League games in which they have scored first, while they have only kept four clean sheets across their last 16 matches in all competitions.
Meanwhile, for Spurs, who have dealt with numerous games being postponed, this weekend’s match will represent an all-important opportunity to make up for lost time after Covid-19 outbreaks have wreaked havoc with fixture scheduling.
Spurs will first face Leicester City on Wednesday night in a game that should have been played before Christmas, with both teams having played just 18 games in the season to date (by comparison Chelsea have played 23).
Nevertheless, Spurs are unbeaten in eight Premier League games under Antonio Conte, and will now be looking to make a move back towards a top-four spot.
Victory against Leicester, and over Chelsea, would certainly reinforce confidence that the Italian can lead Spurs back into the Champions League.