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Stressed about the title race? Don't be

Richard Heathcote

Between 2004/05 and 2009/10, Chelsea were one of the titans of English football and a force to be reckoned with in Europe as well. Our league positions over that time read 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, an enormously successful spell however you care to slice it. Since then, we've essentially been also-rans. The 2010/11 season saw us finish 2nd but miles off the pace, and since then, despite European success, we haven't come so much as within a sniff of the title race.

The last two years in particular have been rough. The club was relegated to the status of Arsenal, battling it out in the rather demeaning race for fourth place and the attendant Champions League spot. The insane run to the European Cup in 2012 spared plenty of blushes, but it can't disguise the fact that we'd been pretty abysmal domestically for about 30 months prior to Jose Mourinho's second coming.

We might not win the title this year. We probably won't win the title this year (but it'll certainly be close). But with seven games to go, we have something to play for that isn't merely about how much money we'll make next year. Yes, it's tense and exciting and I'm pretty sure I'll be throwing many things at many walls over the next few weeks, but that we're in this position at all is a wonderful, wonderful change from the seasons which were.

I'm not saying that we're Liverpool and that this season is some sort of miracle that we should cherish for all its worth or anything -- this is the sort of level Chelsea should be at. But what we need to appreciate is that finishing runners up in for the title is far, far better than winning the race for fourth. Enjoy the ride.

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