Captain John Terry believes Chelsea have rediscovered their identity under Jose Mourinho and can now make a serious Premier League title tilt.
Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1 on Sunday to move two points behind Arsenal at the halfway stage, in a campaign which has seen Mourinho's men beat Manchester City and Liverpool and draw at Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal.
In the last two seasons Chelsea have struggled to contend - in 2012 they finished 25 points behind winners City and in 2013 they were 14 points behind champions United, each time after being well adrift by Christmas - but Terry reckons the Blues now have the character to secure narrow wins.
"The last couple of years we've lost our identity a little bit," he said.
"There's some good teams in the league and when you go 3-2 up (for example) it's important you get men behind the ball and dig in deep and not give them opportunities to really feed on. I think we're doing that really well at the moment.
Terry was full of praise for midfielder Eden Hazard, who has become "a complete player" since adopting the new-found work defensive work ethic demanded by Mourinho.
"It's important you keep it tight at the back and you look for those type of players to create something or do something out of nothing," Terry added.
"He's been doing that all season (and) scoring. The last four or five games he's been really tracking back and really dug in.
"He's really dug in and added that to his game and made him the complete player."
Chelsea have tended to rise to the occasion this season against the bigger sides and did so again against Liverpool in a performance Terry believes was the Blues' best so far this term.
A ninth win from 10 home matches - West Brom the only blip, when Hazard converted a late penalty to earn a draw - extended Mourinho's unbeaten Premier League run at home to 70 games.
"I thought we were brilliant, for me the best we've played all season in the first half, especially after going a goal down," Terry said.
"I thought we responded really well. First half the pressure, the tempo, from everyone was excellent. And the fight and the desire to win.
"Away to Arsenal with five or 10 minutes to go you want a point; at home you always push and you want to win. That's why we've got such a good record (at home)."