Chelsea bounced back from their boxing day defeat at the hands of Southampton – their seventh Premier League loss of the campaign – at the Emirates on Sunday, coming from behind to secure a 2-1 victory against Arsenal.
Their loss to the Saints saw them miss out on a huge chance to close in on Manchester City and Leicester City at the top of the table, with fifth-place Manchester United just four points behind the Blues.
Frank Lampard’s side cannot afford to drop more points with a chasing pack breathing down their neck.
Chelsea are hoping to finish in top-four this term, and they have to win against teams like Southampton to have a chance.
How the Stamford Bridge outfit fare in their remaining 18 league games of the campaign will be crucial to their chances, and here are 10 games that could have a huge say on their top-four aspirations:
Newcastle United vs Chelsea
The Blues narrowly won their last three games against the Magpies, and next month’s visit to Saint James’ Park will be a tough test for Lampard’s youngsters.
Newcastle have only lost twice at SJP this term, and they remain a tough side to break down.
Chelsea vs Arsenal
Mikel Arteta will hope to avenge his side’s loss when the Gunners visit Stamford Bridge next month.
Both sides are likely to make a few additions to their squad in January, and that could have a huge say on their respective fortunes going forward.
Leicester vs Chelsea
The Foxes have lost just four times in 20 games so far, and there will be all to play for when Chelsea visit King Power Stadium in February.
The result will be crucial to the hosts’ chances of remaining in the title race and the Blues’ top-four chances.
Chelsea vs Manchester United
Chelsea opened their campaign with a 4-0 loss at the hands of the Red Devils at Old Trafford in August, and the second leg will be more than about revenge.
Lampard’s men have to prove they have grown since that debacle, and a fierce clash definitely awaits.
Chelsea vs Tottenham
Jose Mourinho was outwitted by his former charge a few days ago, and the Portuguese will be more than keen to prove that he is still the master when both teams meet at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea vs Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s side have had a stuttering campaign, but they remain a force to reckon with.
Nevertheless, the Blues will fancy their chances against them at the Etihad.
West Ham vs Chelsea
The Hammers secured a 1-0 win at Chelsea’s expense at Stamford Bridge a month ago, and will hope to complete a league double in April.
These are games David Moyes has to win to endear himself to West Ham fans.
Sheffield United vs Chelsea
The Blades have taken the English top-flight by storm, and they came from two goals down to hold Chelsea to a draw back in August.
With a top-seven finish within reach for Chris Wilder’s men, April’s game could be very crucial to both sides’ European aspirations.
Liverpool vs Chelsea
Given their current form, Jurgen Klopp’s men would have likely wrapped things up and won the league before matchday 37, but the race for finish in fourth place could still be on, and Chelsea might need to leave Anfield with all three points.
Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves are currently five points behind the Blues and they will fancy their top-four chances.
Could this game determine which of the two will clinch a Champions League spot?