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December Preview: Tough Month Ahead?

Chelsea’s Premier League season so far has been decent with an impressive start to the season under Roberto Di Matteo, but a bit of a falter recently leading to RDM’s sacking. Chelsea have played 13 games, won 7, drawn 4 and lost 2, standing 4th in the Premier League table. In the Champions League, we stand 3rd in Group E, having played 5 games and earned 7 points, 2 behind Juventus, 3 behind Shakhtar Donetsk. The only way we can get through to the knockout stages is us winning against Nordsjaelland and Shakhtar winning against Juventus. In the League Cup, we face Leeds United in the quarter final, which should be a fiery game. Interim manager Rafael Benitez started off his reign against Manchester City at home on Sunday, which ended in a 0-0 draw. After that, we have Fulham (home again) which is a tough game, as well. November ends, packed December begins here.

December starts with an away day at West Ham. Following that is a Champions League home game against Nordsjaelland, which will indirectly decide whether we progress to the knockout stages or not as qualification is not entirely in our hands. After that, there is once again an away game in the Premier League against Sunderland. After that, we begin our Club World Cup campaign, with two games in Japan. Next is Leeds United away in the Capitol One cup quarter-finals. Following that are games against Aston Villa at home and Norwich City away, followed by the huge game on the last matchday of December, away at Everton, who are doing extremely well this season.

December will be a test in the character, fatigue levels of the players and the depth of our squad, with an astounding 9 games in one month. It will be a test for the new manager as well and will give the fans an idea of what he is actually capable of, and whether he can really challenge for trophies or not. If we manage to get through December, doing very well, I doubt there will be any big problems after that and it could lead to a smooth season after that. It will also give us a chance to analyze which positions we need new players for and where we lack squad depth, which will help us get a clear idea going into the January transfer window, making it easier to asses our transfer targets and if needed, early recalls for our loaned-out players.

First place at the end of December will probably mean the title being ours to lose. There are five months after December with crucial matches as well, but doing well in December may mean a lot for our morale and  confidence too, and may help us to tackle the rest of the months very easily.

Keeping the blue flag flying high

Konark Antani 

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