EPL 2012-13: Chelsea already out of the title race?

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London, Dec 17: Chelsea travelled to Japan in the hopes of becoming the 'World Champions' on Sunday but their dreams were cut-short by a well determined Brazilian side Corinthians, beating the favourites 1-0 through Paolo Guerrero's 69th minute header at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohoma.

Another blow for the Blues, losing out on another trophy after crashing out of the Champions League few weeks ago. Now, Rafa Benitez can't expect any support from the fans while pressure mounts on Fernando Torres after missing close chances.

Chelsea already out of the title race?

A tight schedule awaits Chelsea during the Christmas period. Under new interim manager Benitez, this was their second defeat but have won against easier teams, Nordsjaelland, Mexicans Monterrey and Sunderland who are struggling above the relegation zone.

Chelsea's first test would be a tricky trip to Leeds. The Blues then host Aston Villa, who comfortably beat Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday. On Boxing Day, high-flying Norwich City entertain Chelsea at Carrow Road. The Canaries are in the form of their lives, going unbeaten in 10 Premier League games.

The Blues ended their winless run after seven games with a convincing 3-1 victory over Sunderland including two goals from their £50 million striker Torres.

It all began with the controversial loss to Manchester United at the Bridge and after losing talisman John Terry, who is still sidelined due to a knee injury suffered against Liverpool, Chelsea lost their top-spot and are currently 13-points behind United.

Despite bringing in £100 million worth of new recruits, Chelsea failed to survive in the Champions League, becoming the first holders to crash out and now the league title is slipping away from them with the Manchester giants ahead.

With the busy league schedule, Capital One Cup and FA Cup Benitez needs to find the right combination and technique to keep Chelsea in the top-four until the beginning of January. With teams like Tottenham and Everton fighting for a Champions League spot, Chelsea need to strike big time.

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