After a shock draw against current Premier League holders Manchester City recently, Jose Mourinho will be keeping a close eye over his shoulder heading into the winter months.
In a tense game last month, eyebrows were raised when Frank Lampard managed to score a last minute equalizer against his former club.
The unflinching look on Mourinho’s face soon made its way all over social media as the Chelsea manager had to concede he had perhaps let one of his best talents leave the club – and had paid the price.
A 3-0 victory over Aston Villa the following week no doubt lifted spirits at the club as did the 2-0 win against Arsenal.
But the Blues may be in for tougher times ahead, particularly where the African Cup of Nations is concerned.
The tournament, which begins in January, has seen Chelsea lose some of its star players in the past as they head over to the continent to represent their home countries.
Michael Essien and Didier Drogba have both been casualties in previous years.
This season however, Chelsea look set to lose just one player, John Obi Mikel, and it’s a casualty that Mourinho may not be fretting about any time soon.
Despite having made 208 appearances for Chelsea since 2006, the 27-year-old midfielder has scored just one goal.
He has spent most of this season on the bench, but did help to set up Diego Costa’s second goal against Everton during their 6-3 annihilation at Goodison Park.
Perhaps a team who should fret a little more about the upcoming tournament in January is Chelsea’s most current rivals, Manchester City.
One player that Manuel Pellegrini will inevitably regret losing is Yaya Toure.
The 31-year-old scored one of Chelsea’s seven goals during their sensational victory over Sheffield Wednesday recently in the Capital One Cup, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that Manchester City suffer without the Ivorian star.
In 2012 for example, Manchester City lost three games when they played without Toure.
Without a doubt, Toure will be missed when he plays for the Ivory Coast in January.
But while City may lament the loss of one of their key players in the upcoming African Cup of Nations, it still looks to be a warm winter for Chelsea, who aren’t going to give up their spot at the top of the table anytime soon.
Picture courtesy of Ben Sutherland, with thanks