Carlo Ancelotti accused his players of “sleeping” following Monday’s sloppy display in a 3-1 loss at Arsenal that extended Chelsea’s winless streak to six matches.
This is also the Stamford Bridge club’s worst run of form – collecting just six points from eight games – since December 1999, when they picked up one fewer point from the same number of matches.
Ancelotti may again have to make do without Nicolas Anelka for this evening’s visit of Bolton Wanderers, as the French forward’s knee injury is still causing concern.
Alex, Yuri Zhirkov and Yossi Benayoun are still sidelined as well for Chelsea.
Owen Coyle’s Bolton side might be the most improved in the league this season, but an injury crisis could wreck their Champions League spot bid.
They also have a miserable recent run of results against the Blues, having failed to record a win since December 2003.
Defender Gretar Steinsson has a knee injury and winger Chung-Yong Lee is on international duty with South Korea, so Coyle may well recall Sam Ricketts and Martin Petrov.
Israeli midfielder Tamir Cohen misses out due to the death of his father, former Liverpool player Avi, following injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
A Bolton victory would see Coyle’s side leapfrog Chelsea, with the Blues dropping to sixth – their lowest placing going into a new year since the 2001/02 season.
Wanderers may have only managed two draws from 24 matches against the ‘Big Four’, but Coyle will believe his side can overcome the Blues.
With Chelsea in poor form, this match may have a draw written all over it.