Chelsea started the season as Champions of Europe and are the favorites to claim the Premier League title. As the season has progressed, they have only gone and cemented their contendership for the same.
They bought themselves a successful striker in the summer with ex-Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku joining from Inter Milan to strengthen them in the goals department.
The race for the Premier League seems to be trilateral at best, with Manchester City and Liverpool featuring as the fiercest competitors to the Blues.
Right now, Chelsea are sitting at the summit of the Premier League table with 29 points having only been beaten by Manchester City. The Etihad side are just three points adrift with 26 in second position.
Chelsea's fate in the Premier League title race depends on a few big clashes
The road to the title is still largely untrodden. A strenuous December period awaits where matches come thick and fast and we have seen titles lost and won in the winter before as well.
So it will be a real test for the Premier League favorites to maintain that three-point lead and adding to that lead would be no cake-walk.
Plenty of chances will come when Chelsea get to extend their advantage over their rivals. The Premier League is unpredictable and any team can beat another on their day. However, there are some crunch ties that could favor the Blues in the long run if the result goes in their favor.
Here are five matches Chelsea must definitely win if they want to lift the Premier League title:
#5 West Ham United vs Chelsea
Early in December next month, the Blues will visit the Hammers for the first of the most important fixtures that will come their way. Chelsea will be carrying a little fatigue from the away fixture against Watford on December 2nd and come to the London Stadium on December 4th, 2021.
West Ham have already caused one of the biggest upsets in the Premier League by defeating Liverpool in a pulsating encounter. Under David Moyes' astute management they have put their best foot forward in the Europa League as well, staying unbeaten in four games.
Both teams are good in the air and it would be interesting to see what happens when they attack and defend from set-piece situations. Romelu Lukaku was available on the bench for Chelsea in their latest encounter against Juventus in the Champions League. In all likelihood, he will definitely be back for this fixture.
Lukaku's physicality and frame would be an important asset for Tuchel's side and his contest with former Blues player Kurt Zouma would be interesting to watch. West Ham themselves sit fourth in the Premier League and this game will be important for their top four hopes as well. Hence, the Hammers won't take this one easy either.
#4 Chelsea vs Liverpool
After playing seven matches each in December, the two Premier League giants will meet each other in the New Year on January 2nd, 2022. Chelsea going against Liverpool has always been a mouth-watering clash, and the fact that this will have big repurcussions for the Premier League title only makes it better.
When the Blues visited Anfield in August, the Reds were unable to bag all three points despite Chelsea going one man down towards the end of the first-half. Tuchel's team delivered a resolute performance in enemy territory and fought for a well-earned draw.
It is an advantage for Chelsea as Jurgen Klopp and co. visit, and the home side will want to ensure they make Liverpool regret failing to win the reverse fixture. Liverpool are already dealing with injuries and it will be a real headache for them to manage the workload of their regulars come December.
The Blues have also had their fair share of injuries, but three points in this fixture could prove to be a massive milestone in their Premier League title run.