Former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit has pinpointed added pressure, increased demands, a lack of depth and failure to replace key departing players as the reasons behind his old club's mounting troubles this season.
Chelsea cruised to the Premier League title in record breaking fashion in 2016/17 in Antonio Conte's first season in charge, but things have been much tougher so far in his second campaign.
And Gullit believes that the Stamford Bridge club need to do more and rise to the fresh challenges that now present themselves.
"When you win a title, things change. The opposition is more alert," he told beIN SPORTS.
"Plus the fact that there's the Champions League. There's a lot of things to play for. You have to divide your team in a manner that a lot of players can play."
Depth and rotation has been a problem for Conte, who hinted at concerns over squad size following the weekend's defeat at bottom club Crystal Palace, with rumours having circulated for most of the summer that he wasn't happy with the recruitment programme led by his superiors.
Given the exits of Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa, Chelsea's overall lack of numbers coming in effectively amounted to a one in, one out transfer policy until a couple of late panic buys.
Gullit continued, "Chelsea also had a lot of problems [in summer]. I think they sold some good players - Matic, Costa - and it has been difficult to replace them."
Injury has meant that Danny Drinkwater is yet to make his debut since signing for £35m in August, while key man N'Golo Kante is currently ruled out, as is Victor Moses. Eden Hazard is nursing the lasting effects of a prolonged summer absence, and Alvaro Morata has just returned.