Fifteen matches and 45 possible points.
That’s what lies between Chelsea and its fifth Premier League title of the 21st century.
The Blues’ nine-point lead over chasing Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal — 10 over Liverpool — isn’t insurmountable, but the odds are very much in their favor.
[ MORE: Tuesday’s PL roundup ]
There is no Champions League on the docket for Chelsea this season, and even a run deep into the FA Cup would be met by forgiving PL fixtures on the docket (See bottom of post for remaining Chelsea schedule).
That’s why this Saturday, at home to Arsenal, is potentially the defining moment of the rest of our run through the Premier League season.
The Gunners outfoxed Chelsea the last time around, when Mesut Ozil and company dropped three first-half goals on the Blues en route to a 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea sat eighth after that game, but we know what happened next: 13-straight wins for Antonio Conte and the Blues.
Perhaps, then, it’s fitting that a win over Arsenal on Saturday would all but slam the door on the idea of anyone catching the Blues. Spurs would be at least nine points back, and Liverpool would be at least 10. Neither have Chelsea left on the schedule.
However, an Arsenal win would close the gap between the sides to six points. With Spurs playing Middlesbrough and Liverpool facing Hull, it wouldn’t be absurd to have all four teams within seven points of the top.
What a difference 90 minutes can make.
Saturday – vs. Arsenal
Feb. 12 – at Burnley
Feb. 18 – FA CUP at Wolves
Feb. 25 – vs. Swansea City
March 6 – at West Ham
March 11 – FA CUP quarters*
March 13 – vs. Watford
March 18 – at Stoke
April 1 – vs. Palace
April 5 – vs. Manchester City
April 8 – at Bournemouth
April 15 – at Manchester United
April 22 – vs. Southampton
April 22-23 – FA CUP semis*
April 29 – at Everton
May 6 – vs. Middlesbrough
May 13 – at West Brom
May 21 – vs. Sunderland
May 27 – FA CUP final*