After a week off, Chelsea are back at it on Boxing Day, taking on AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in Monday’s 3pm kick-off. Another win would bring more Christmas cheer to West London in a season that has seen plenty of it already and so far has been, in a word, fantastic.
"It's fantastic. The mood in the camp at the minute, everyone's spirits are high. Everyone will tell you that playing in a winning team is easier. The run that we're on is brilliant so I hope it continues. We're full of confidence.”
"What's going right is a number of things. Obviously people will touch on the change in formation, but there's the way we've adapted to that formation and the players we have in the team, ultimately.”
Another win would be a new club record twelfth in a row and while Chelsea aren’t lacking for motivation, the players are aware of the potential to make history and thus want it badly.
“It's not something we speak about on a daily basis. In fact, I haven't heard any of the lads speak about it, but we know about it and I'm aware of it. Of course you want to be involved in teams that break records and you want to be involved in teams that do well.”
"We're aware of it and the Boxing Day game is a chance for us to do that, which should add extra incentive. We want the three points badly and we want the record.”
"I'll speak for myself, I want the record. Why would you not? There's three points and a record to go for. If you're asking me if I'm going to be motivated for that game, I think we're all in the same boat."
It’s been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes compared to last season, but it hasn’t come easy. It’s been down to the head coach and the players working together and working hard to change their stories.
“The manager knows his formation inside out and we have worked very hard on the training pitch to adapt to that formation.”
"People talk about the formation, but I think it's the way we're playing that formation — and that comes a lot from the manager and his experience with this formation and ultimately the lads taking it on board and going out and delivering it.”
"It's a number of things that have given us success, it's not just all of a sudden 'we'll play this formation, off you go…' It doesn't work like that. You have to put a lot of work in on the training ground."
One of these days, the winning streak will end, Chelsea will drop points and we’ll have to refocus and redouble our efforts. But the foundations are strong and there’s genuine belief that with hard work, we can accomplish anything.
"A lot was made of last year and rightly so. We had individuals, the majority, underperforming compared to the levels they usually set. This season we are hitting the levels we should be setting. I'd be lying if I said I thought we'd be sitting pretty at the top of the table, but I certainly would have expected to be up there competing.”
"We're in a good place."
-Gary Cahill; source: Sky