With Chelsea a whopping 13 points off the top four already this season, many at the club must be thinking about how the next campaign might look.
The idea of Chelsea failing to qualify for The Champions League would be completely unacceptable for Roman Abramovich and his people.
But, even if Chelsea show title form between now and the end of the campaign, they are probably going to have to win 6 or 7 more matches than the likes of Manchester United, City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham between now and May.
This seems highly unlikely, despite the genius of Jose Mourinho.
And when you survey the Champions League landscape it’s almost as difficult to see Chelsea conquering Europe on their current form.
With the likes of Bayern on fire and Real Madrid and PSG looking so strong, it would surely take even more of a miracle than 2012 to win the trophy this year.
So, surely, Chelsea’s best route into next season’s competition is through The Europa League.
This season is the first time that a Europa League winner (Sevilla) were granted access to The Champions League. It’s a new rule that looks likely to stay and this year’s winner will definitely get a berth in The CL.
There are of course top teams in Europe’s second biggest club competition and the quality will rise again when the CL sides, who finish third in their group, join the rest in the knockout phases.
But Chelsea are more likely to conquer that competition than finish fourth or win The Champions League.
It may seem a little defeatist to those optimistic Chelsea fans who feel that things can be turned around.
But a Europa League win will lift the spirits and give Chelsea a foothold in the big one for next season.
Chelsea fans: is The Europa League the best bet?