With the club situation frozen in time as internationals are played out around the world, it’s time to take stock of the state of play. We’ve not really been ourselves at Stamford Bridge over the opening months of the season – a Chelsea that draws 2-2 with the likes of West Brom is not the Chelsea of world-beating abilities which we’ve all become accustomed to supporting over the past decade. But there really is light at the end of the tunnel…

Beating Man City 2-0 at home was a crucial moment for us. Despite the fact that both our clubs have started the season on relatively poor form, many still see City and ourselves as the key contenders for the title, with strength in depth that far outstrips the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and even Manchester United. Beating City represented a six-point leap in the title race. With the Champions’ League group stages progressing swimmingly, we really are in with a good shout of serious silverware this season.

So what’s next?
Over the next few weeks, we really do have to be aiming for nine points from three Premier League matches. On November 23rd we face a West Ham side that’s looked distinctly unthreatening throughout the season – to lose this one would be a serious blow. Should be easy pickings.

Now it’s not every season that a team like Chelsea would approach a game against a side like Southampton with caution, but the Saints are doing themselves proud this time around. They’re above us in the league, and they’ve proven themselves capable of taking on bigger clubs and coming out on top by beating an in-form Liverpool side that can’t stop winning at the moment. We should provide a sterner test on December 1st and are likely winners in this match-up, but it would take a foolish side to treat the Southampton of 2013/14 without a degree of respect.

It should be far simpler to dismantle the Black Cats of Sunderland on December 4th – despite their recent win over arch-rivals Newcastle, this club remains amongst the top flight’s whipping boys.

Chelsea are now entering a make-or-break period in the season. With Torres on song and some key victories behind us, let’s win these crucial games and enter 2014 as favourites for the title.