Jose Mourinho's home league record finally came to a crashing end as the Blues lost 2-1 to bottom of the table Sunderland, much to the delight of Liverpool.
The squad members didn't step up for the Blues
With Petr Cech ruled out with a virus and Eden Hazard still missing with a calf injury, two of Mourinho's top players were absent from the field in what looked like an easy win on paper. The onus was on Chelsea's replacements to step up and justify their position in this expensively assembled squad. As it turned out, Mark Schwarzer, on his Premier League debut, fumbled Mikel Alonso's shot for Connor Wickham to fire home, while Mohamed Salah failed to adequately replace Hazard in what was a narrow win at Swansea and today at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho has paid for not signing a striker in January
Any football fan watching the Premier League this season has been able to see the glaring need for Chelsea to sign a top class centre forward. That such a necessity was ignored in January has almost certainly cost Chelsea the title. The club's three forwards have all had poor seasons, Ba has barely played, Torres has netted just 4 times in 25 games, while all of Etoo's goals have come at home. Mourinho will say his side wasn't ready to challenge for the league, but who's to say Chelsea will have a better opportunity in coming seasons. Abramovich, a man with chasms for pockets, should have paid whatever necessary to make that signing at a time that would benefit the club the most.
It will hurt that bit more that former Chelsea players came back to haunt the club
It is somewhat ironic that Jose Mourinho's superb Chelsea home record would fall at the hands of such familiar faces, with two figures that hurt the Blues today former Stamford Bridge men. Sunderland manager Gustavo Poyet was a much loved midfielder who spent four years at the club in the late 90's, where he won the FA Cup and the Uefa Cup Winners' Cup, while Black Cats forward Fabio Borini, who scored the decisive penalty, is on loan from Liverpool, and a former graduate of the Chelsea academy.
A draw wouldn't have been much better than the loss
That Mourinho lost his home record is almost a moot point. With Chelsea on course for a draw it was fully necessary for them to do everything possible to secure the three points. Anything less and only a huge swing in goal difference, as well as a Chelsea win at Anfield, would see the Blues come out on top, a series of fairly unlikely events. The biggest difference between the draw and the loss is the possible mental effect it may have on John Terry and co.
Chelsea's title race looks very much over
Arguably, the best that Chelsea can hope for is a win at Anfield to enable Manchester City to win the title ahead of Liverpool. With the Reds' goal difference as it is, Brendan Rodgers' men can afford to not just lose to Chelsea next week, but also draw another game, and still be ahead of the Blues on goal difference. Of course anything is possible, but if Liverpool win tomorrow against Norwich, a side Luis Suarez terrorises every time he plays them, they will have to mess up in 2 of their 3 remaining games - some ask considering they've won 10 games in a row.
Can Chelsea still win the league?