Chelsea’s hopes of winning a first league title in four years were dealt a blow at the weekend as they lost 1-0 at Aston Villa.
Fabian Delph’s back-heel eight minutes from time was enough to secure all three points for Paul Lambert’s side, who moved into the top half of the table.
However, the Blues’ lead at the top has been cut to four points, with second place Liverpool and third place Arsenal winning at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, whilst fourth place Manchester City, who also took all three points from their game at Hull City, are a further two behind.
All three of the chasing pack have games in hand over Chelsea; one in the case of Liverpool and Arsenal and three for Manuel Pellegrini’s men who have been reinstalled as favourites by the bookmakers.
The Blues will now turn their attention to tomorrow evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg with Galatasary, before returning to league action against Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime.
Lose to the Gunners, they could fall to as low as fourth by the time of thier game at Crystal Palace the following weekend, with the other sides in the Champions League places all playing in midweek.
Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday lunchtime with a trip to Hull City.
The Blues remain without Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic, both of whom are out of action for about a month with muscle and knee problems respectively.
The sides met at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, when goals from Oscar and Lampard secured a 2-0 home win.
Another three points here will see Jose Mourinho’s men move to the top of the league, with second place Manchester City not playing until Sunday when they face a difficult trip to Newcastle United, while Arsenal travel to Aston Villa on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, the Metro understands the Eden Hazard has told friends that he wants to join Paris Saint Germain in the summer.
Reports in France suggest the Belgium international ‘will do whatever it takes’ to secure a move to the Ligue 1 leaders.
The 23 year old moved to Chelsea in the summer of 2012 from Lille, and has since notched up eighty-nine appearances in all competitions for the club.
Twenty-seven of those outings have come this season, while he is the Blues’ top scorer so far this campaign with ten goals.
Samuel Eto’o is out of Chelsea’s clash with Southampton on Sunday afternoon after picking up a groin injury in Tuesday evening’s Champions League defeat to Basel.
The Cameroon international, who is set to miss the next two weeks, could be replaced by Fernando Torres, who returned from his abductor injury midweek.
David Luiz is doubtful as he struggles to shake of a knee injury, while Marco van Ginkel is out for the majority of the season with a knee injury.
Victory could see Jose Mourinho’s men close the gap on leaders Arsenal, depending on their result against Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile second place Liverpool, who are level on points with the Blues, travel to Hull City on Sunday afternoon.
Elsewhere, Mourinnho has taken a swipe at Romelu Lukaku, with many still questioning why he was again allowed to go out on loan this season, the Mail Online understands.
Following a successful season-long stint at West Bromwich Albion last year, the Belgium international moved to Everton for the season on transfer deadline day.
With Chelsea’s current set of forwards largely misfiring, journalists and fans alike have been rueing the clubs decision to temporarily part company with the 20 year old, but the Blues boss has said it is for the player to reveal the reason why.
Jose Mourinho enjoyed a winning return to Stamford Bridge as his Chelsea side beat newly-promoted Hull City 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard wrapped up the victory for the Blues, who extend their unbeaten home league run under Mourinho to sixty-one games.
The hosts were awarded a penalty after just six minutes, though Hull keeper Allan McGregor saved Lampard’s effort.
They eventually took the lead seven minutes later through Oscar before Lampard fired in a long range free kick half way through the first half.
New signings Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle both made their bows as second half substitutes, with the latter replacing fellow debutant Kevin De Bruyne.
The club will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s match against Aston Villa, who currently sit a place above the Blues by virtue of goals scored following their 3-1 win at Arsenal.
Meanwhile, ESPN understand that Chelsea are lining up a third and final bid of around £40m for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
The England international made two assists after coming on as a second half substitute against Swansea City on Saturday, and cut a lonely figure as the rest of his teammates celebrated.
Jose Mourinho has just one injury concern for Sunday’s Premier League opener against Hull City on Sunday.
Juan Mata will face a late fitness test ahead of the game after suffering a slight knock, with the rest of the first team squad fit and vying for a starting berth.
Romelu Lukaku will be hoping to get the nod having returned from a season long loan with West Bromwich Albion, while Kevin De Bruyne and Michael Essien have also return after spending a year away from the club.
New signings Andre Schurlle and Marco Van Ginkel may feature at some stage, though Mark Schwarzer is expected to provide nothing more than back up to first choice goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The omens are good for the returning Blues boss, with the club unbeaten in the last sixteen opening day fixtures, and also unbeaten in their four fixtures against the Tigers in the Premier League.
However, in terms of statistics there is none more impressive than Jose Mournho’s home record in England’s top flight.
During his first spell with the club, the Portuguese manager was undefeated at Stamford Bridge and will be confident of maintaining that record as the Blues take on one of the favourites for relegation.