The fall of Chelsea during the 2015-16 season has to be one of the biggest shocks in Premier League history.
As we move towards the end of a difficult season for the West London club, where do we predict they will finish – is a top four place possible?
History in Premier League
Chelsea have been members of the Premier League throughout its history. Yet despite boasting strong teams in the league’s early years, the Blues didn’t win a league title until 2004-05 when José Mourinho joined as manager.
Under Mourinho’s leadership, Chelsea won two league titles in a row. After he left in 2007, Chelsea didn’t win the league again until 2009-10, when Carlo Ancelotti was at the helm.
In a trend that has become all too familiar at Stamford Bridge, the Italian was sacked during the next season after a run of bad results, despite having won the league a few months before.
Fast forward to March 2015, when Chelsea were enjoying a seven-point lead at the top of the table and charged on to win the premier League with ease.
The standings a year later show that Chelsea find themselves in 10th position and 24 points worse off than at the same time last year.
Even Chelsea’s most successful manager wasn’t safe from the chop. During 2015, José Mourinho, who had been lauded as a demi God by Chelsea fans, seemingly lost his way.
He had a very public fall out with the club doctor Eva Carneiro, who was dropped from all club activities and later sacked. She he has subsequently taken the club to an industrial tribunal.
From this point on, things went from bad to worse and it was mooted that he had lost the dressing room. He was sacked just seven months after winning the league, by which time they were lingering just outside the relegation zone.
Guus Hiddink was bought in to steady the ship. As a result, they went on an unbeaten 12-game run and moved up to 12th in the table.
Guus Hiddink (temporary)
After Mourinho’s sacking, Guus Hiddink was hired to take over the reigns at Chelsea for the rest of the 2015-16 season.
Lifting the FA Cup in 2009 was a mixed bag for Chelsea’s players and their fans. The 2-1 win over Everton ensured a drab season ended with some silverware, but it also marked the end of Hiddink’s first spell in charge.
Despite calls from Petr Cech, John Terry and others for him to stay, Hiddink was set on continuing his role as head coach of Russia and left Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Hiddink’s most recent job was as head coach of Holland, although failure to lead the team to Euro 2016 led to his resignation.
When on form, the reigning Chelsea player of the year is a living nightmare for defenders. His low centre of gravity gives him great balance, which when paired with an ability to dribble at pace allows him to breeze past opposing players.
Having suffered an uncharacteristic goal drought through the first half of this season, however, it is clear that Hazard isn’t on form. Rumours of a spat with Mourinho suggest a cause, so maybe he will hit his stride again under Hiddink.
Can the popular Dutchman rekindle the old fire at Chelsea this season, or is his stay doomed just like his second spell with Holland?
Having crashed out of the Champions League against PSG in the Round of 16, it would seem that Hiddink’s only chance of saving the Blues’ season is to gather steam for fourth place. At 22/1, we don’t think this is very likely.