Saturday's clash against Newcastle will mark a dozen matches since Jose Mourinho was sacked. Chelsea have yet to lose since that (sadly) inevitable decision, though the eleven-match unbeaten streak has been more remarkable for its amount of draws than any sort of consistent winning, or improvement, for that matter.
"It's not black and white. It's not been a success, nor has it been a failure. Success is there when we go on and get through more rounds and get into the finals of both cups. That would be a huge success but it won't be easy as I said when I started here. A failure would have been if from December until now we had the experience of several defeats, which is not true as well. I hope we can be on the edge going in to spring time, where we can achieve what this club must normally achieve."
We can talk about improvement and character and fight-backs and other such great concepts all we want, but the harsh reality remains that while we've been making (expected) progress in the FA Cup — easily dispatching lower league opposition — in the Premier League, we've only managed two wins in eight and three wins in twelve, stretching back to the final days of Mourinho. Good enough to avoid relegation, though just barely.
"It was a very uncertain and unexpected situation in December, when you have come from starting the season as champions in August. Maybe you're not going for the title for the second year in a row but you have to compete for the first four positions. That hasn't been the case and of course that meant there was a lot of uncertainty within the club and with the players. Bearing that in mind it has been more difficult than in my previous spell, when there was uncertainty as well but it was a different situation with different players. It is more difficult this time to have success after two or three weeks."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
We can fire and hire all the managers we want, but eventually it comes back to the players. John Terry may be just the tip of iceberg as far as the end-of-season culling's concerned.
Hiddink was brought in to do a frankly thankless job and he played down his own personal influence from just about day one. He seems to be a man trusted by the upper echelon of club leadership, and should be able to see Chelsea safely over the finish line somewhere in mid-table, with maybe an unlikely cup win or a very unlikely cup double. And then we'll be able to finally close the books on this wretched season and look forward to better days.