Chelsea are on course to win the Premier League title this season, having opened up a commanding 10-point lead over their rivals with 10 games left to play.
The message from Stamford Bridge is clear regardless: nothing has been won yet.
But some members of the Blues’ squad have added incentive to ensure they feature regularly during the run-in as eight of Antonio Conte’s players could miss out on a winners’ medal.
Premier League rules state that players need to make a minimum of five appearances to qualify for a medal after the threshold was lowered from 10 ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.
Even bit-part players have been able to secure a medal in recent years as a result of the alteration but Conte’s lack of rotation may see several players miss out this season, unless the Italian shuffles his pack significantly for the remainder of the campaign.
If Chelsea successfully see out their fifth title triumph of the modern era then January departures Branislav Ivanovic and Oscar will both qualify for a medal, having made 13 and nine appearances respectively before calling time on their careers in west London.
But Mikel John Obi will not, having failed to make a single appearance during Conte’s tenure before heading to Chinese Superb League club Tianjin TEDA.
Captain John Terry has struggled for game time since Conte switched to a back three but already has five appearances under his belt, and will add another medal to his individual trophy cabinet even if he is not deemed worthy of any more game time.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ola Aina and Kurt Zouma are among those in danger of missing out, with the trio painstakingly close to the required threshold.
Loftus-Cheek, who has made a total of three top-flight appearances, is hopeful his brace for England’s Under-21s will be enough to convince Conte he deserves to get on the pitch again between now and May.
Nathan Ake, Kenedy and Charly Musonda – plus the club’s back-up goalkeepers – are set to fall short of five appearances after the trio of outfield players spent the first half of the season away from Stamford Bridge on loan.
Conte’s team may well have picked itself for the majority of the season, but the 47-year-old still has some crucial decisions to make with medals at stake.
Player names Appearances
Nathan Ake 0
Asmir Begovic 0
Charly Musonda 0
Ola Aina 2
Ruben Loftus-Cheek 3
Kurt Zouma 4