Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has conceded that this season's battle for the Premier League title is "a one-horse race" due to Manchester United's significant lead at the top of the table.
United are currently 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester City with 11 games left in the campaign. Chelsea are a further seven points further back, and dropped down to fourth place following Tottenham Hotspur's 3-2 win at West Ham United on Monday night.
"It's a one-horse race. To be realistic, I don't think anyone will be putting money on us or City to win this title," Mikel is quoted as saying in The Sun. "It's all about United. It is difficult to see anyone catching them."
With the title seemingly out of their sights, Chelsea instead face a fight to qualify for next season's Champions League. Tottenham are two points above them with another of their London rivals, Arsenal, two points behind the Blues.
Their cause will not be helped by a potential fixture pile-up of four games in eight days should they draw Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round tie at Middlesbrough, while reports in The Sun of a training-ground row between interim manager Rafael Benitez and club captain John Terry could also hamper their form at a decisive stage of the season.