Belgian star Eden Hazard has pointed to the Blues’ crowded fixtures as being the main reason for his side struggling to regain the form that won them the Premier League title last term.

Chelsea stormed to the crown during their first season under Antonio Conte, but have so far looked a shadow of the team they were in 2017/18; representing nothing like a threat to current league leaders Manchester City, who they trail by 19 points.

The Blues are currently in fourth in the league standings and they could face a battle just to finish in the Champions League qualification places, with Tottenham just a point behind them at present.

It is also very difficult to see Conte remaining manager of the club beyond this campaign. The Italian is rumoured to be unhappy with backroom decisions and considering the team’s current results, it is very hard to see owner Roman Abramovich sticking with him for the long term.

Embed from Getty Images

In discussing his side’s failure to put up a fight to defend their title, midfielder Hazard told ESPN FC: “I think the Premier League is difficult, it is hard to win every year. Last year, we didn’t have the Champions League.

“This year we have less time to be ready for the games. Every week there are three games.”

Since 2009, no team has managed to successfully defend the top-tier title – but Hazard feels that this is not necessarily a bad thing. He added: “That’s why we love football. If there is only one team that wins, it would be boring.

“That’s why football is special. You never know what’s going to happen, especially in England.”