The future depends on what you do today’ – Mahatma Gandhi

There are not too many iconic figures in world history who when they speak, you hang on there every word, Mahatma Gandhi is perhaps one of those iconic figures.

Gandhi’s inspirational leadership led India to independence from the British rule and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom throughout every corner of the globe, which is still felt to the present day.

It is the inspirational quote at the top of the piece that should be instilled into every man, women and child, as it applies in everyday life, in every decision that we make as human beings.

Maybe Antonio Conte should have the quote on a plaque in the Chelsea dressing room, as what Chelsea do today, the next day and up until the end of January could have a huge impact on what February & March brings.

For Chelsea are now entering a crucial period, possibly a season-defining period, and one glance at the upcoming fixtures in February/March will tell you all you need to know.

After a penalty shootout victory over Norwich in the FA Cup and a much needed Premier League win over struggling Brighton, with four goals to boot, It does seem that, while all may not be a bed of roses, Chelsea are drawing on the mentality that has seen the Blues accumulate trophies in the past.

Whether it be a thirteen winning match run that leads to the title or an all hands to the pump with ten men in the Nou Camp to propel to Champions League glory, Chelsea down the years have called on an unbelievable spirit on the day to ensure that a much brighter future lay ahead – and this season is no different.

Before Chelsea face Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, the fixture reads as follows – the League Cup semi-final 2nd leg at the Emirates against Arsenal, FA Cup fourth round tie at home to Newcastle, league fixtures at home to Bournemouth and West Brom, with an away tie at Vicarage Road to Watford sandwiched in between for good measure; what happens in these fixtures could potentially shape how the future looks at the end of March, with the final straight very much on the horizon.

For instance, if Antonio Conte leads the Blues to Wembley, into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup and have nine points in his back pocket then that gives the players, supporters and the club as a whole, a real upbeat spirit and mentality going into fixtures with Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham.

Obviously, the worst of the scenarios is to lose the lot but in hindsight that seems far-fetched, to say the least.

Let’s us here at HOF take a brief look back at some of the difficult periods which were overcome and lead Chelsea to a brighter future.

Season 2016-17 – Premier League Champions

After a stop-start beginning to the season, Chelsea found themselves in eighth position well behind early pacesetters Manchester City, Antonio Conte and Chelsea took the short trip across London to face bitter rivals Arsenal.

What ensued was a season-defining loss that would shape the rest of the season and see some of the club’s most high profile players sidelined for the good of the team.

First-half goals from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal a 3-0 victory, but it was the performance in the second half and the tactical switch to 3-4-3 which ultimately lead to the title.

Hull were brushed aside in the first of the thirteen matches and victories over Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham propelled the Blues to top spot by Christmas, a position which they would not relinquish.

Season 2011-12 – Champions League and FA Cup winners

From the moment Liverpool knocked Andre Villas Boas’s Chelsea side out of the League Cup at Stamford Bridge, the loss being Chelsea’s third in four games and already their sixth overall, it was clear that everything wasn’t exactly right – and it was only November.

The side were unfamiliar and unsuited with Villas Boas high line defence, which was highlighted in the 3-5 home defeat to Arsenal and most striking in the 3-3 home draw with Manchester United, a game in which Chelsea were leading 3-0 on the hour – it was this draw, along with defeat in Naples which culminated in Andre Villas Boas losing his job after yet another poor defeat, this time at the Hawthorns to West Brom.

Chelsea needed a saviour, and they had one alongside Villas Boas, his right hand man, none other than club legend Roberto Di Matteo.
With Chelsea so far behind in the league, Di Matteo ultimately put Champions League qualification on actually winning the thing – and what a ride it took us on.

Chelsea overcame Napoli 4-1 at Stamford Bridge and drew on and summoned the winning mentality that had been embedded in the club since winning the first title in 50 years in 2005.

The spine of the last 10 years – Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba inspired Chelsea to the ultimate glory when it seemed all but lost in Naples, the FA Cup was thrown in for good measure.

Season 2008/09 – FA Cup winners

The season had started off so brightly, with a World Cup winning manager installed – a Brazilian World Cup manager to boot, it seemed that Roman Abramovich may yet get to see the football he envisaged when he purchased the club in 2003.

After two opening victories with five goals scored, none conceded and new acquisition Deco from Barcelona settling in well it seemed the dawn of a new era had begun at Stamford Bridge.

Well almost, after the first defeat, at home to Liverpool – Chelsea’s first home defeat in 86, yes 86 games, stretching back to 2004 it seemed a defeat that Scolari didn’t recover from.

Further big losses to domestic rivals and an uninspiring Champions League group stage which Chelsea finished second to Roma led to Abramovich wielding the axe and putting Scolari on the chopping block.

Guus Hiddink, a personal friend of Abramovich and the Russia manager no less was drafted in to pick up the pieces.
And in picking up the pieces, it almost inspired the Blues to Rome and the Champions League Final, in a match littered with referee mistakes of the highest order – yes like the Murphys, I am still bitter – Chelsea fell short in the last minute, the season did end in glory, a trip to Wembley and victory over Everton to lift the FA Cup.

So while the future on the horizon looks daunting to say the least, what we do today can have a huge bearing on what the future brings in terms of silverware in May.

Antonio Conte has proved before that he can inspire the club to glory from the depths of despair, while it has not come to such measures this time around, it is time for Conte and the players to seek and find inspiration once more.

It is time to concentrate on today to bring us a bright tomorrow – starting at the Emirates.