If Antonio Conte was not on the brink at Chelsea before watching his beleaguered troops receive a pillar-to-post battering at Watford on Monday (5 February), he certainly is now. Two damning defeats against the Hornets and Bournemouth in the space of five days have left many waiting for what they perceive to be the inevitable, but the Italian is remaining defiant in the face of increasing adversity - for the time being at least.

His bickering about the club's transfer policy and a reported falling out with director Marina Granovskaia has certainly not helped the troubling situation facing the reigning Premier League champions, who are currently 19 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City and just one ahead of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur.

Conte does have credit in the bank after guiding a Chelsea side that had only just managed to secure a top-half finish in the season prior to his arrival to the title, but owner Roman Abramovich has never been afraid to wield the axe during his reign in west London.

The Blues have run through an awful lot of managers during the Russian's 13-and-a-half year spell in charge - 10 to be exact - and the candidates to replace Conte are a mix of fresh and familiar faces.

Maurizio Sarri

Another supremely talented but combustible Italian coach? Why not.

Napoli manager Sarri's stock has risen significantly in recent seasons and he has managed to lead the Partenopei to the summit of Serie A this term, though reigning champions Juventus are hot on their tails with just one point separating the two sides.

After managing a smorgasbord of Italy's minnows - 17 to be precise - Sarri is now looked upon as one of the most exciting coaches in Europe and has managed to implement a stunning brand of football in the city of his birth. Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon, Kalidou Koulibaly and Jorginho have improved no end under the tutelage of the Italian, who has also managed to transform Dries Mertens from an inconsistent winger into a potent centre-forward.

'Sarri-ball' has captured the minds of many in Italy and around Europe, and Chelsea are not the only club to be credited with an interest in prising the 59-year-old away from Naples; Real Madrid have included the Italian on their list of replacements for Zinedine Zidane, according to AS.

Napoli would no doubt be loath to lose Sarri and are planning to hand him a new contract to ward off potential suitors. The former Empoli and Perugia boss does not seem to be actively looking to get away from his home city, but can Abramovich tempt Sarri, who is said to have a £7m ($9.7m) release clause included in his current deal, into leaving his comfort zone and becoming the fifth Italian manager to coach the Blues since the Russian assumed control in west London?

Maurizio Sarri
Sarri is seen as almost a visionary in Naples Getty Images

Luis Enrique

Former Barcelona boss Enrique is currently enjoying a sabbatical away from football after three strenuous years at the Nou Camp.

The former Celta Vigo and Roma boss no doubt benefited from having the wondrous attacking triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at his disposal in Catalonia but still managed to conjure some brilliant football from his supremely gifted stars, winning the Champions League, two La Liga titles and three Copa Del Reys in the process.

Enrique's managerial past isn't exactly spotless - his ill-fated spell with Roma was followed by a somewhat acceptable season at Celta Vigo - but he is currently the bookmakers' favourite to replace Conte. Whether he decides to cut short his self-imposed year-long break from football remains to be seen, but a summer proposition might surely tempt the 47-year-old.

Carlo Ancelotti

A familiar face in west London, Ancelotti would provide a calming influence to the never-ending commotion at his former place of work, though even he may still be perturbed by the manner in which he was sacked by Abramovich, who relieved him of duties in a corridor at Goodison Park just moments after Everton beat Chelsea 1-0 on the final day of the 2010-11 season.

The illustrious Italian is currently enjoying a break away from the game after being sacked by Bayern Munich, whose players complained of his lax nature to training in Bavaria, but the three-time Champions League winner seemed to fit well within the hierarchy at Stamford Bridge and produced arguably the most vibrant, free-flowing football of Abramovich's reign as he guided the Blues to a Premier League and FA Cup double.

Abramovich has shown that he is willing to re-hire his former coaches, but would Ancelotti, who would cost nothing in terms of compensation and is still looked upon as one of the elite managers in world football, be willing to forgive and forget his embarrassing dismissal and re-assume his position at the Bridge?

Could Ancelotti return to west London? Reuters

Guus Hiddink

Another familiar face for Chelsea supporters and a candidate who would only be an eminent possibility if the Italian was sacked in the coming days. Hiddink is more than just a temporary firefighter for Chelsea but has kept his hand on the till on two separate occasions for the Blues, one of which ended in FA Cup success.

Hiddink has done little of managerial note since steadying the ship that was rocked by Jose Mourinho in 2015-16 - his last job away from Stamford Bridge was an ill-fated spell in charge of Holland, who have now appointed former Everton boss Ronald Koeman - but if things start to go even further south for Conte, the former South Korea and Russia boss may be drafted in once again.

Thomas Tuchel

Tuchel has been linked with a number of Premier League jobs since parting company with Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season. Southampton, Everton and West Ham United have all been credited with an interest in the former Mainz boss in the past few months, but the 44-year-old has kept his powder dry in the hope that a club of even higher esteem will take a chance on him.

Like Conte, Tuchel did extremely well to turn Dortmund around after they languished during Jurgen Klopp's final season in charge, but while his two-year stint ended in glory with the German Cup, angst between him and the powers that be at the Westfalenstadion eventually accelerated his exit; his constant arguing with Sven Mislintat, now head of recruitment at Arsenal, and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke inevitably led to a parting of the ways.

Tuchel's footballing philosophy certainly shares similarities with that of Klopp; the 44-year-old is a keen advocate of dynamic, relentless, gegenpressing football, though his system garnered more than a handful of detractors during his time at Dortmund, with many of the belief that it failed to bring the best out of some of the players at his disposal.

Chelsea were heavily linked with Tuchel a few months ago and had to deny suggestions that they were preparing to replace Conte with the former Dortmund boss in the summer. Tuchel wouldn't cost anything in terms of compensation and his time in charge at BVB cannot be viewed as anything other than a success, but would Chelsea be prepared to replace a man so at odds with club officials with another who has a tendency to do the exact same?

Antonio Conte
Conte is cutting an increasingly forlorn figure in west London Getty Images