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It turns out there is such a thing as normality at Chelsea, as the Blues ended a turbulent week in a turbulent season with a routine victory against West Brom.
The result takes Chelsea back above Spurs into third ahead of Sunday's north London derby and should change the focus at Stamford Bridge from Rafa Benitez's immediate future to what can be achieved in the final three months of the season.
When Roberto Di Matteo was sacked with the club on the verge of being eliminated from the Champions League, would a top-four finish and the chance of a cup victory have seemed such an unacceptable achievement by his interim replacement?
This was always going to be a season of transition following significant changes to the squad in the summer and although Di Matteo led the team to Champions League glory last May, Chelsea slipped to their lowest Premier League finish in ten years, ending the campaign outside the top two for only the second time in nine seasons.
Benitez may have failed to keep the Blues in the title race following his appointment in November - overseeing a slide from six points behind first place with a game in hand to the current 19-point chasm - but it was always going to be extremely difficult to maintain a challenge against a Manchester United side that have amassed a record points total at this stage. Even Manchester City, without the distraction of European competition in the past three months, have struggled to hold onto United's coattails.
It should be remembered that Benitez arrived at the end of a miserable run of two wins in eight matches with Chelsea struggling for confidence and Oscar and Eden Hazard beginning to fade following their stunning start at Stamford Bridge. Despite eventually steadying the ship and overseeing a productive festive period, which saw Aston Villa thrashed 8-0 and Everton defeated at Goodison Park for the first time since March, it's not a surprise that inconsistent form has followed.
But there is still a chance for Chelsea to salvage something at the end of a frustrating season, and Benitez to leave in the summer with another trophy on his CV. The Blues are currently in a strong position to finish third, ensuring automatic qualification for next season's Champions League group stage, and their hopes of reaching the Europa League final and progressing in the FA Cup are very much alive.
It will be difficult to sneak past United at Old Trafford in next Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final, but a last-16 Europa League tie against Steaua Bucharest offers a little more encouragement. With holders Atletico Madrid and much-fancied Napoli crashing out in the last round, Chelsea are now favourites to win Europe's second competition, which would mark an impressive double in back-to-back campaigns.
If the Blues are to maintain their pursuit of a successful conclusion to the season, there will need to be a reluctant truce for the greater good between fans, manager and players. Benitez's request for supporters to cease their on-going protests and get behind the team was not unreasonable and despite occasional boos and chants of 'F*** off Benitez, you're not wanted here' the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge was not as toxic as many had feared on Saturday.
The current predicament at Chelsea reminds me of a wretched family holiday to France in my youth. It rained constantly throughout the two weeks, but rather than remain in a foul mood the parents insisted that "We're here now, we might as well enjoy ourselves."
It led to a bizarre situation in which we forced ourselves to have fun - sitting on the beach in freezing temperatures while eating ice cream and pretending everything was grand. In truth we knew we were having a horrible time and all returned to the UK with rotten colds. But we had made the most of the unfortunate circumstances and looking back it was probably the best...no, it was an awful holiday.
The same doesn't have to apply to the remainder of Chelsea's season, and if the fans can at least put up with Benitez and allow the manager to perform his role free of poisonous invective, and the players cooperate with his methods, there is still a good chance of salvaging success from a tempestuous season. And if Benitez is afforded clemency and still fails, then the fans can enjoy boasting that they were right all along.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.
@polaknuar - You seem to have answered it most satisfactorily.- ted maul