It's a new year, but will it be a new Chelsea when they travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Sunday?
Despite winning the Premier League and Capital One Cup in 2015, the year soon became one to forget for Chelsea.
Their form this season has seen them dragged into a relegation scrap with Jose Mourinho also sacked as manager as a result.
It's been disastrous.
Now the calendars have been turned, Chelsea will be hoping their form does with it, as interim manager Guus Hiddink explained.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, the Dutchman stated that Chelsea's three-game run without defeat has been positive but that they now need to start winning matches regularly again.
"We have started gathering some points," Hiddink said. "[Against Manchester United on Monday] it was the third consecutive game we didn’t lose, but that’s not enough. We must come now in to a winning period of games, that’s important.
"You see how it is, all the big teams are losing points as well. Nowadays it’s very difficult, and if you see where [Crystal Palace are] in the table, they are close to the Champions League positions. So it’s not that easy now to have a long-term winning sequence, but we have to go there."
Chelsea are 14th in the Premier League. If results go against them on Saturday, it could just be goal difference keeping them from falling into the bottom three.
So Hiddink is right about needing that winning sequence. A club with Chelsea's ambitions can't be looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone. The focus must be on what's ahead of them and clawing back the points difference.
They need to make up nine points to reach the top 10, but from there the table becomes more congested and competitive with just three points separating 10th and fifth.
The sooner Chelsea get themselves as part of the conversation, the better. But they can't keep putting it off.
Victory against a very tough and well-organised Palace side will give them the sort of lift they've been looking for.
Date: Sunday, January 3
Time: 1:30 p.m. GMT/8:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Selhurst Park, London
TV Info: Sky Sports 1 (UK only)/NBC Sports (U.S. only)
Live Stream: Sky Go website and app/NBCSN (U.S. only)
Last 5 Games
|Dec. 7||Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace|
|Dec. 12||Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton|
|Dec. 19||Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace|
|Dec. 26||Bournemouth 0-0 Crystal Palace|
|Dec. 28||Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea City|
|Dec. 9||Chelsea 2-0 Porto|
|Dec. 14||Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea|
|Dec. 19||Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland|
|Dec. 26||Chelsea 2-2 Watford|
|Dec. 28||Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea|
Chelsea visit Selhurst Park with Diego Costa as their only fit striker as Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao continue to struggle with injury.
Gary Cahill (ankle) and Cesc Fabregas (illness) are both doubts for this London derby too.
Palace have a long injury list of their own that includes Yannick Bolasie, Connor Wickham, Dwight Gayle and Bakary Sako. All four have been key players for the Eagles this season and will be a big miss for Alan Pardew's side.
Damien Delaney will face a late fitness test. Yohan Cabaye is suspended for one game.
Crystal Palace (4-1-4-1): Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Jedinak; Zaha, McArthur, Ledley, Puncheon; Campbell.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Diego Costa.
When Palace beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in late August, they did so by exposing Branislav Ivanovic on the right side of defence. Both their goals came from that side of the pitch.
Back then, it was Zaha and Bolasie who caused problems, and Pardew will need Jason Puncheon to do something similar at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Ivanovic's decline this season has been alarming, and teams that have had joy against Chelsea have been wise to it.
From the right side, all manner of problems are caused for the Blues. If Palace can do the same, there's every chance they'll complete a league double over their London rivals.
Having no striker against Manchester United on Monday severely hampered Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Remy and Falcao were both injured for that game, while Diego Costa was serving a one-match suspension for picking up a fifth booking of the season on Boxing Day against Watford.
Unable to keep possession in the opposition half, Chelsea were forced to defend more than they would have liked against United and were limp in attack as a result. When they did get chances in front of goal, they fell to players who lacked that killer instinct a striker possesses.
Well, Costa's back for the trip to Selhurst Park, and that can only be good news.
He looked back to his best against Watford, scoring twice. If that was a sign of what's to come, Chelsea's season will improve dramatically.
The Spain international must deliver, starting against Palace.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Chelsea
Home Win: +230
Away Win: +117
First Goalscorer: Diego Costa (9-2)
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