Chelsea dropped points against Southampton but should not be ruled out of the title race just yet.
Betting on Chelsea to win the Premier League might seem like a strange move, but a couple of astute January signings could change the picture very quickly.
The Blues are 10 points behind leaders Liverpool and missed the chance to go five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal when they only managed a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
But Chelsea are not that far away from being a side capable of challenging the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City – as their long unbeaten start under boss Maurizio Sarri showed.
They have wobbled since then, of course, but Chelsea are still strong in almost every area of the pitch.
The defence has had some problems but the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz have performed on a consistent basis.
There has been some adjustments needed in midfield, with Jorginho adapting to English football and N’Golo Kante to a new attacking role.
But the depth of midfield talent Chelsea possess is beyond dispute, with Sarri able to also call upon the likes of Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic and Cesc Fabregas.
Eden Hazard is obviously the talisman, while Willian and Pedro continue to provide more than adequate support for the attack.
It’s that attack where Chelsea are compromised – they badly need to improve that front line.
Alvaro Morata continues to struggle, Sarri has never seemed convinced by Olivier Giroud, and Hazard as a ‘false number nine’ can only be a short-term measure.
Chelsea need a striker – and Sarri said as much after the draw with Southampton.
And if they can get one, there is every chance that Sarri’s side could be a much stronger outfit during the second half of the season.
There is no doubt they would be significantly closer to Liverpool had their shortcomings in the final third of the pitch not been so evident – as the Southampton game highlighted.
With a cutting edge up front, Chelsea are certain to pick up plenty more points and therefore cannot be ruled out of the title race. Take a closer look at the race statistics at , to help you make up your mind who will finish top of the league this year.
Bournemouth’s England striker Callum Wilson is a transfer target and his pace and finishing suggest he could make a major difference for Chelsea.
So too could Gonzalo Higuain, who played under Sarri at Napoli and is reportedly keen to join him in west London.
Argentina international Higuain is currently on loan at AC Milan from Juventus but is seemingly keen for that season-long deal to be scrapped so he can instead join Chelsea.
Chelsea have simply failed to replace Diego Costa and without the Spain forward have gone from title winners under Antonio Conte to also-rans struggling to stay in the race for a Champions League place.
But their blistering winning run during Conte’s title-winning season, which came after a poor start, showed how suddenly a top side can emerge.
With a Wilson or Hugain in the team, the Blues could be similarly transformed during the second half of the campaign.
Those odds of another title triumph will quickly come in if that happens. So now might well be the perfect time to bet on Chelsea winning the Premier League.