Things are not going quite as Luiz Felipe Scolari had planned when he took up the Chelsea managerâ€™s job in June.
After a blistering start to the campaign that saw his side bang in the goals and lap up the plaudits, matters have taken a turn for the worse.
Chelsea have only won four of their ten home league games this season - suffering potentially damaging defeats to title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool in the process - have exited the Carling Cup to Burnley and have seen their imperious early season away form unravel. The Blues have drawn their last two games on the road, to Everton and Fulham.
Weaknesses are also beginning to emerge in the teamâ€™s overall play.
Jose Mourinhoâ€™s Chelsea were not always impenetrable in the air, but they made damn sure that conceded goals from set plays was a pretty rare occurrence. Under the Brazilianâ€™s regime, they seem as frequent as a British high street chain going into administration.
Both of Fulhamâ€™s goals yesterday came from sloppy marking from set pieces. Craig Bellamy put West Ham ahead at Stamford Bridge earlier in the month from a dead ball situation. Goals were also shipped against CFR Cluj and Bordeaux as a result of balls into the box.
Whereas under Mourinho it seemed like a set in stone certainty that Chelsea would hold onto a lead once they gained it, under Scolari that assurance just isnâ€™t there. Arsenal came from a goal down to win 2-1 in November, and Bordeaux and Fulham have managed to battle back and gain draws. Chelseaâ€™s defensive steel has disappeared along with the 86 match unbeaten home record.
At the other end, an inability to finish their chances has seen the club drop points that they shouldnâ€™t have. This hasnâ€™t always proved fatal, but when combined with another attacking problem, it definitely becomes so.
When faced with defensively resolute sides, the Blues seem to lack ideas. If the goals donâ€™t come (mainly as a result of the wasteful finishing mentioned above) a Plan B doesnâ€™t appear to exist as a fallback option. This has come with a more attractive brand of football. The debate is forever raging about what matters most, good football or simply winning trophies, and at the moment it doesnâ€™t look as if Scolariâ€™s Brazilian blend will deliver silverware.
Jose Mourinhoâ€™s Chelsea could mix things up. The Portuguese tactician had players who were adept with the ball at their feet, such as Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Eidur Gudjohnsen, who could change a game with a moment of skill or genius.
But his Chelsea side could also go route one, spearheaded by Didier Drogba, whose strength and ability in the air won Mourinho a number of games in his time at the club.
Scolari is reluctant to go down this road - as is made evident by his reluctance to play Didier Drogba - and tactical rigidity could cost him in the long run.
Things havenâ€™t reached crisis point just yet - Chelsea are second in the league and through to the knockout phase of the Champions League - but jitters and uncertainty hang over the club heading into 2009.
Who is to blame for this?
The away fans at Craven Cottage yesterday had no doubt about who to direct their anger at. â€˜You donâ€™t know what youâ€™re doingâ€™ they sang to Scolari in response to his decision to take off Joe Cole - one of Chelseaâ€™s most dangerous looking players - and replace him with Salomon Kalou.
The heckling was replaced by cheers when Frank Lampard crashed in what appeared to the winner from a free kick moments later, but Clint Dempseyâ€™s header with a couple of minutes left to play ensured that the doubts about Scolari would be seared into Chelsea supportersâ€™ minds.
After the game, Scolari seemed to pin the game on his players.
â€œI was asking Petr who was marking which players,â€ said Scolari, referring to Dempseyâ€™s 88th minute header which levelled the scores at 2-2.
â€œHeâ€™s the captain when it comes to marking in the area. I give him the power to say this or say that to the players. But there was one Fulham player in the middle of the area, free, in the last minute. Thatâ€™s incredible. That goal was a mistake.â€
While the players must take some responsibility for this, Scolari deserves just as much criticism.
Traditional wisdom dictates that the buck stops with the manager. He picks the players and the tactics. He chooses who is bought and sold (admittedly maybe not always true with regards to Chelsea but still a duty nonetheless) and conducts training.
Scolari should put players on the posts for corners and free kicks. Anyone who has watched football will know that having a player on the line can prevent a number of goals from going in. Ashley Cole has done in a number of times for Chelsea pre-Scolari.
If Cole had been on the post when Dempsey rose to head the ball towards goal yesterday, he might well have stopped it from going in and Chelsea could be just a point behind Liverpool, instead of three.
He should also come in from flak for his persistence with Deco.
The Portuguese schemer started the season in scintillating form, winning the Premier League Player of the Month Award for August, but since then his form has been - to put it kindly and to refrain from using foul language - disappointing.
Simple diagonal passes appear at times to be a bridge too far for the 31-year old, and his tackling is Scholes-esque. Deco appears ill-suited to hustle and bustle of the Premier League, where time on the ball is not a freely available luxury.
A reluctance to pair Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka together when fit is also a worrying sign.
A Drogba-Anelka partnership seems like a no-brainer given their complementary strengths. Anelka likes to drop off deep and receive the ball, while Drogba is brilliant in the air and can hold up the ball, bringing team mates into play. But Scolari seems to think that a solution to this problem means playing one or the other. Or as it so often appears to be the case, playing Anelka for 45 minutes and then bringing Drogba on when things havenâ€™t quite gone to plan.
But in fairness to Scolari, Chelsea failed to sign their number one transfer target - Robinho - due to problems at boardroom level, which Scolari can hardly be blamed for. The lack of another option on the other hand, can be the fault of Scolari. Or, he might have thought that the squad was good enough to win trophies even without Robinho. It is hard to be 100 per cent certain.
There are things that Scolari needs to take the blame for, and thereâ€™s no reason why he cant find a solution to these problems. The January transfer window will give him the chance to tweak his squad, but probably only after he sells players first.
The first 6 months of his tenure will have given him a much deeper look at his players and time to decide who can be gotten rid of.
In todayâ€™s footballing climate, rash sackings are becoming much more frequent. Chelsea are still paying the price for their own bout of gun jumping in sacking Jose Mourinho last September.
To sack Scolari before the season is out would be foolish and unfair on a man who is taking charge of a club in Europe for the first time. The Brazilian has only been in the job for 6 months, his ideas and way of thinking wont automatically be soaked up by his players.
Chelsea may not be blessed with time to give a Premier League rookie a chance, but a little patience could prove to be a very sound New Yearâ€™s resolution to make.