Things did not quite go according to plan for Chelsea on Saturday as a 90-second goal-blitz from visiting Crystal Palace knocked the Blues off the winning track that had seen Antonio Conte’s men win a club record 13 home matches in a row. A ten-point lead has thus become a seven-point lead and the title race has been redeclared open, much to the delight of back pages everywhere.
“For you (the media) it’s a good result because it makes the championship more interesting, but I always said the league is finished when mathematically you have won it, otherwise you must play every game to try to win because in England there are no easy matches.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
There may be no easy matches in the Premier League, but there is no panic in the dressing room. Conte and crew (and the fans) were understandably downbeat after the final whistle, but surely the mentality of the team is tougher than to crumble after just one bad result. The response against Manchester City on Wednesday will be key.
"We are disappointed as we had a chance to chalk another three points off. We have to regroup. It is a little setback but we need to focus on Wednesday. We need to keep calm and go again. The gap is still there. It puts emphasis on Wednesday. It adds a bit more pressure but the boys respond to that.”
"They made it difficult. It was a crazy 15 minutes [but] once we settled it was one-way traffic. I hate possession stats. It is about putting the ball in the net."
-Gary Cahill; source: BBC via Goal
The beauty of a ten-point, or in fact a seven-point gap is that it allows for mistakes and unfortunate events like Saturday’s loss. There no need to panic. And there won’t be need to panic either should Wednesday not turn out ideally. But let’s not wait too long to get back into the winning habit.