Chelsea today shook off their humiliating defeat to Bournemouth in midweek with a 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield at Stamford Bridge.
While the Blues’ decisive victory saw them reclaim fourth place on the Premier League table, Arsenal could leapfrog them once again depending on the result of their trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
As such, it’s no wonder Maurizio Sarri is acutely aware of how intense the race for Champions League qualification will be this season and beyond.
Speaking after the win over Huddersfield, he told Sky Sports: “We know we have to fight until the end.
“It’s not easy in England to get top four. The league is so competitive here, there are six big teams. We have to work and we have to fight.
“We need to fight together otherwise we are in trouble.”
Given the task Chelsea face between now and the end of the campaign, it was never going to come as much of a surprise if they opted to make use of the January transfer market.
Despite being linked with Gonzalo Higuain for weeks in advance, his loan move from Juventus wasn’t completed until the final week of last month.
Nevertheless, the Argentine scored a brace against Huddersfield to overshadow a rather dull debut at the Vitality Stadium three days prior.
His chemistry with Eden Hazard – who also found the net twice versus the Terriers – has been instant and plain to see.
The pair completed 14 and 21 passes to each other against Bournemouth and Huddersfield respectively – the first and third-most combinations between Hazard and any Chelsea striker this season.
When asked about being on the same wavelength as his new teammate, Hazard replied: “Today, yes; Wednesday, no, but today, yes.
“We are improving together, training together now since ten days [ago].
“He’s a great striker. He’s a bit less of a target man than [Olivier] Giroud, but he can hold the ball, he can play one touches – so, he’s intelligent.
“In the box he’s unbelievable. He will score more goals, I think.”
In his glowing reflection of Higuain’s second outing, Sarri believes he possesses the ideal attributes to form a productive partnership with Eden Hazard.
“Higuain is improving,” he said, via BBC Sport.
“He wasn’t physically at the top when he arrived, because he had a back problem and wasn’t involved, so only played a few matches.
“He is a great player. Apart from the goals, he is really very suitable to play very close to Eden.”