It has been a wild year all-round for many teams including Chelsea. But now the end is in sight, what are the realistic expectations for this club from now until the end of the season?
The short answer is that a top four finish should be seen as the minimum. This wasn’t necessarily something required at the start of the season, but certainly is now, and the online bookmakers seem to be thinking the same.
With Tottenham (11/4), Arsenal (40/1) and Manchester United (8/1) all having far worse seasons than expected, the door has been left wide open and The Blues simply have to take advantage.
Bookmakers have Chelsea priced up at 4/7 to finish in the top four, so they clearly see this as something that is likely to happen.
The current third placed team Leicester are 1/10 on this market, so the bookmakers expect it to be easier for them, implying Leicester are more likely to finish 3rd and Chelsea finish 4th.
There is a list of available betting offers for new customers for those looking to get involved and place a bet on the final stages of the season. As per our interpretation, we call a bet on the Blues a ‘safe bet’ at this stage.
However, there is hope that Chelsea can turn the tables on The Foxes, who have stuttered a little in recent weeks. They have just one win from their last four games, the same as Chelsea. If The Blues had played better over the past few weeks, they would have been much closer.
We know Chelsea can play better and a big couple of games awaits. Home contests against Manchester United and Tottenham give the chance for Frank Lampard’s men to gain two confidence boosting wins.
Those would also keep their two opponents well behind in the race for 4th place and allow Chelsea to focus on the team above them, Leicester City, rather than looking over their shoulder at those behind.
The run-in is not easy for Chelsea by any stretch of the imagination, with a whole host of games against either those at the top or those desperate for points at the bottom.
With confidence back in the dressing room though, there is definitely a chance that this team can overtake Leicester towards the end of the season and claim 3rd place in the standings.
As far as expectations from the beginning of the season go, this would be an over-achievement for Frank Lampard in his first season in charge.
Questions were asked when he was appointed as to whether he needed a little more experience before taking the job. It is pressure moments like the one we are in right now that will determine whether he will be classed as a success or not this season.
If he does come through this well and Chelsea grab 3rd place, the future under Lampard could well be bright. However, a failure to capitalise on poor seasons from many rivals and finishing behind Leicester would be no more than an average start to his career.
The feeling is that this is a big moment in the season, but even if it doesn’t go to plan, the top four should still be the minimum target from this position.