As Chelsea sit six points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand over everyone barring bottom club Leicester, it is no longer a question of if Jose Mourinho will be celebrating a third English top-flight title in May, but by how many points?
Recent form suggests Chelsea are doing little more than going through the motions, with Burnley and Southampton both gaining draws at Stamford Bridge and the Blues hardly setting the world alight in scraping victories at West Ham and Hull.
In fact, looking at Chelsea’s last five Premier League matches, they are conceding two more shots on average from inside the box in comparison to the opening 23 gameweeks of the campaign and having one fewer shot on target per game themselves.
These are hardly substantial swings in numbers, but do indicate that Chelsea are not quite living up to the lofty standards they maintained in the opening two-thirds of the season.
First-team tiredness could be a factor as 11 players have started over 20 Premier League games this season. To put this into context, this is true of only four Manchester United players and the Red Devils haven’t had any European engagements to contend with either.
It is 1/1 that Chelsea end up topping the standings by a minimum of 11 points and the same price that they are crowned champions by 10 points or less.
Only once since Mourinho’s first Premier League title in 2005 has a winning margin been at least 11 points and here are three other examples as to why the latter of these options looks the more sensible bet:
Man Utd 2000/01
The 6-1 victory over nearest pursuers Arsenal at Old Trafford in late February effectively confirmed the Red Devils as champions, putting them 16 points clear with 10 games remaining.
Sir Alex Ferguson was hardly a manager that would have accepted his team coasting over the line, but 16 points were dropped over the remainder of the campaign, which included losing the final three matches to Derby, Southampton and Tottenham.
Not that it made a great deal of difference, but United only celebrated their third successive title by 10 points in the end.
Unbelievably, Chelsea had only dropped five points from their opening 22 matches of the season to establish a 16-point advantage at the summit of the Premier League by mid-January.
There was a real possibility that Chelsea would break their own points record of 95 from the previous season and an outside chance that the 100-point barrier would be achieved for the first time.
But the foot came off the pedal as Chelsea lost four away games in their run-in, including in their final two fixtures of the season, which enabled Man Utd to get back to within eight points of them.
Man Utd 2012/13
Around this time two years ago, United were 15 points clear with eight matches remaining, having just won 1-0 at Sunderland.
But a home defeat to Man City started a run that saw Sir Alex’s men win just three of their final eight matches, with Chelsea also leaving Old Trafford with three points and West Brom being involved in an unprecedented 5-5 draw on the final day of the campaign.
The final winning margin remained 11 points, but it should have been more.