Players must be responsible for Chelsea defeats - Cahill

A new lease of life in London

The Blues were thrashed 4-1 at Watford on Monday night as pressure on Conte's position intensified.

One manager is already preparing to take over at Chelsea at the end of the season amid intense pressure on Italian Antonio Conte. The former Italy coach signed an improved deal last summer, and his contract expires at the end of next season.

Guus Hiddink, who some have speculated could return as a temporary replacement for Conte should he be sacked, is at the top of the tree, though.

The team sit fourth in the top flight and do not play again until Monday, when they host bottom-of-the-table West Brom.

Conte made a number of mistakes previous year, but that one might prove to be the biggest. Even repeating that success was going to be tough, never mind surpassing it, but he continued to tweak the tiger's tail.

Whatever the speculation, Chelsea did not react well to it and players were perhaps unsettled by their manager's exit rumours.

Having won the league so convincingly last season, Chelsea will relinquish their title this year without really putting up much of a fight against a dominant Manchester City side. Tottenham are due at Stamford Bridge on 1 April.

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You have to ask the question: do long-serving managers continually win the Premier League title these days?

The challenge became harder for Conte and his players when Bakayoko was dismissed. However, there appears to be something holding Abramovich back from pulling the trigger.

Unsurprisingly, the only man who can beat Conte in terms of points per game is Pep Guardiola, who is leading Manchester City to what looks like the most dominant season in the Premier League era, certainly comparable to Arsenal's Invincibles of 2003-04.

"We are Chelsea, a big club - and when we lose one game it's a bad time for us", Azpilicueta told the club's official website after a humbling defeat at Vicarage Road - Chelsea's first loss to Watford in any competition since 1999.

They also hold the record for the best goal difference in a season with 71.

The Italian has called on the Chelsea board to end the uncertainty over his future by publicly confirming it trusts in his work but votes of confidence are rare at Stamford Bridge.

A makeshift front three of Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez and Willian struggled to get involved as Watford dominated on new boss Javi Gracia's home bow.

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