In one of their most disappointing runs of form in recent history, Chelsea won’t get a much easier chance to return to winning ways than this weekend’s home fixture against Bolton as Paddy Power make Andre Villas Boas’s side heavy odds on favourites to pick up the vital three points at home.
The Blues haven’t recorded a win in five games and have failed to take three points from a league game since mid-January.
Before Tuesday’s loss in Naples, Andre Villas Boas’ side were held at home to a 1-1 draw by Championship side Birmingham City and were sent packing from Merseyside after a 2-0 loss to Everton the week before that.
Unrest within the club now appears to be bubbling to the surface with AVB claiming that he does not have the respect of too many of his players, but going on to insist that the only respect he truly needs is that of the owner, Roman Abramovich.
It is clear that the Russian owner takes more than hands on approach at Chelsea and it appears that there may be some conflict of opinion regarding team selection after it was alleged the Russian billionaire was apparently unhappy with Villas Boas leaving Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard on the bench against Napoli.
Whatever the reason, it is apparent that the Blues need a a lift, after dropping down to fifth place in the Premiership on goal difference with Arsenal, and with Newcastle only a point behind there is little room for any more hiccups.
While Chelsea’s opposition may sit just one point off the bottom of the table, their bad run of form works in Bolton’s favour too.
Owen Coyle’s side will know that the Blues’ bad luck opens the opportunity for them to snatch a shock away win; a chance they won’t often get.
The last time the Trotters gained even a point against Chelsea came four seasons ago in 2008, when the West London outfit were held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
What’s more, the last time Bolton managed to come away from the Bridge with all three points was way back in 2003 and while recent performance don’t exactly inspire confidence, the ‘nothing to lose’ attitude can often make for interesting results.
Bolton can escape the drop zone on Saturday, providing several other results go in their favour, while a home win would keep Chelsea in the race for fourth spot.
Andre Villas Boas must make do without captain John Terry however, who is still out with a knee problem.