Jose Mourinho will be eager for Chelsea to end their Premier League campaign in style and heap more misery on Cardiff City on Sunday.
The Portuguese, who was fined £10,000 by the Football Association on Thursday in relation to comments he made after the home loss to Sunderland, saw his hopes of winning a trophy in his first season back at Stamford Bridge disappear in the space of a week with a defeat to Atletico Madrid and a draw against Norwich City.
Chelsea would have fancied their chances of reaching the UEFA Champions League final when they held La Liga leaders Atletico to a goalless draw at Vicente Calderon, but they were beaten 3-1 in the second leg.
There was more frustration for the London club four days later as Championship-bound Norwich left Stamford Bridge with a 0-0 scoreline that left their title hopes in tatters.
Manchester City's 4-0 hammering of Aston Villa on Wednesday ensured the best Chelsea can hope for is second place.
Mourinho's charges would need a win at Cardiff and Liverpool to lose at home to Newcastle United to achieve that, while fourth-placed Arsenal's significantly inferior goal difference means at least third spot is all-but secure.
The former Real Madrid coach is expecting a "long summer" in the transfer market as he attempts to make up for the disappointment of a trophy-less 2013-14 campaign and bolstering his strikeforce will be a priority.
Chelsea were toothless against Norwich and their lack of a prolific striker has been a major reason why they have fallen short this season.
The clash at the Cardiff City Stadium could mark the end of an era for the London outfit, as captain John Terry, left-back Ashley Cole and midfielder Frank Lampard are all coming to the end of their contracts.
Mourinho stated that the long-serving trio could all stay at the club, but it remains to be seen if they are part of his new-look side at the start of next season.
Cardiff were hammered 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in October and lost by the same scoreline in their previous encounter with Chelsea in the FA Cup in 2010.
The Welsh club were celebrating promotion to the Premier League for the first time 12 months ago, but experienced very different emotions when they were consigned to relegation last weekend.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have endured two miserable trips to the north-east in the last fortnight, losing 4-0 at Sunderland before being on the end of a 3-0 thrashing at Newcastle United last Saturday.
The defeat at St James' Park sealed their fate and Solskjaer must now face up to life in the Championship after arriving at the club full of optimism in January.
Just one win in their last eight games has cost Cardiff dear and having secured a stunning 3-2 victory over champions-elect Manchester City in their opening home match, they will be eager to bow out by causing another shock that could ensure they avoid finishing bottom of the table.
Chelsea will be without goalkeeper Petr Cech after he underwent shoulder surgery, while Oscar (hip) is not expected to feature and fellow Brazil midfielder Ramires is suspended.
Cardiff defender Juan Cala will play no part due to suspension, but Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Gary Medel could return after missing out against Newcastle due to illness.
|Coach: O. Solskjær|
for M. Dæhli 67'
for C. Bellamy 76'
for F. Campbell 89'
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