This too shall pass.
The phrase, according to Abraham Lincoln, originates in Persia, where a nameless king asked his sages for a sentence that would prove true and wise at all times and in every situation. "How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction," said Lincoln. True enough. For our part we should accept the obvious wisdom and excuse the fact that our ancient friends failed to anticipate our counterattacking play.
Over the past 20 years Chelsea supporters have experienced enormous highs and crushing lows. Every meaningful trophy football has to offer has found its way to SW6. We were watching when Frank Lampard secured our first Premier League title with a brace at Bolton in April 2005 and when Didier Drogba and friends ran riot against Wigan for our third. In 1997, we saw a young Roberto Di Matteo put a knife in Middlesbrough to win an FA Cup; 15 years later those heroics were somehow transcended in Munich. And fresh in the memory, if perhaps not in the heart, is a 2014-15 campaign that saw the Blues lose just four matches all season en route to a Capital One Cup and Premier League double.
Each of those triumphs is now a happy memory, passed into history rather than living as a present truth. Chelsea are Champions of England and Champions of Europe, but only when we choose to defy time and swim in nostalgia. Our glories are there, but the immediacy has slipped away.
So too have our previous failures. Neither the penalty shootout in 2008 or the Iniesta strike that broke our hearts a year later is the crushing psychic wound they felt when they happened. Some agonising moments pass quickly, while some take longer. But they all heal. There's no use denying the truth -- this has been as hard a year as many Blues fans can remember. But this too shall pass. Chelsea Football Club will recover and the supporters will recover, no matter how long it takes.
Where were we when we were shit? We were right here, duly chastened and perhaps a little wiser.
* * *
The match itself wasn't bad. The Blues spent most of the first half on top, forcing Kasper Schmeichel into several saves his father would have been proud of, and the one he couldn't stop was rightfully ruled offside -- Pedro had crept half a yard too high before turning in Willian's cross.
The goalkeeper probably shouldn't have mattered in the 4th minute, when Sebastian Fuchs knocked down a chipped pass with his arm, but no penalty was forthcoming because that's how things work. If the referee was to blame for that non-chance, Chelsea could make no excuses for a succession of wasted attacks which saw Baba Rahman and Bertrand Traore fail to get simple passes away despite having a numerical advantage.
Defensively, we were more or less fine. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez gave the back line some problems, because that's what they do, but Thibaut Courtois wasn't put under anything like the pressure his counterpart was facing. We've seen champions turn off after winning, which might have been what happened here. I can't think of any other reason for Nemanja Matic and Baba Rahman looking so comfortable out of possession.
The start of second half was a slightly different story. Claudio Ranieri tinkered with Leicester's shape, making a double switch at the interval, and as a result the Foxes spent the first 15 minutes pinning the Blues deep in their own half. Guus Hiddink responded with three substitutions of his own, introducing Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and debutant Fikayo Tomori.
The injection of young blood gave Chelsea renewed impetus, and it wasn't long before they took the lead. Most of the hard work was done by Eden Hazard, reborn after ending Spurs earlier in the month -- the Belgian went on one of his trademark runs, beating a slew of black-shirted defenders before finding Abraham eight yards out. The teenager's shot was blocked, but it broke generously towards Matic who bounded forward. Jeffrey Schlupp bit on a fake shot and ended up bringing the big midfielder down for a penalty.
Cesc Fabregas rolled the spot kick home to make it 1-0.
If you'd given me a to-do list for May, it might have gone something like:
The first two were accomplished without much bother, but in true 2015-16 style we blew the lead late at Anfield, and it came as no surprise when this one evaporated as well. Loftus-Cheek didn't bother closing down Danny Drinkwater 30 yards from goal -- this is the price you pay for youth sometimes -- and the midfielder simply lashed a thunderbolt past Courtois to level things up.
Abraham very nearly restored the lead in the dying seconds, but his lovely effort went inches wide. Just as well. Finishing the season on a high wouldn't have been appropriate at all.