Chelsea Should Be the Favourites to Win the Premier League Title Next Season
This year's battle for power in the English top flight was very much a two horse affair for the entirety of the campaign.
The two Manchester clubs were simply a class apart from the rest of the field, eventually both finishing a whopping nineteen points clear of third-placed Arsenal.
Chelsea ended the league in a dismal sixth place.
Despite this disastrous season in the domestic league, things could not have gone better for Roberto Di Matteo's men in the other major competitions.
It is not often a side becomes Champions of all of Europe, whilst at the same time finishing behind a Newcastle side that would struggle to make it out of the Champions League group stages.
Factor in the impressive triumph in the FA Cup as well, and somehow, despite the abysmal league finish, Chelsea have probably had one of the most successful campaigns globally this year.
So what went wrong in the Premier League?
There isn't one answer to that question and it would be completely unfair to solely place the blame on the shoulders of former manager Andre Villas-Boas.
However, one of the primary causes of their failure was a lack of consistency when it came to their attack.
Defensively, Chelsea have, on most occasions, been reasonably sound.
Who will win the league next year?
Don't let the stats fool you.
Yes, Chelsea have conceded more goals this season than they have in any other year since the takeover of Abramovich. But the majority of those goals came in the first half of the season—crucially before the signing of England international Gary Cahill in January.
Since the former Bolton man's inclusion in the side, his partnership with John Terry has continually developed into a fully cohesive unit.
No, it wasn't the attacking aspect of Chelsea's game that cost them.
Drogba and Torres were at one stage two of, if not the very best, strikers in the Premier League.
I am not about to go on an anti-Torres or Drogba rant, but there will be few Blues fans out there who will argue that both men have in recent games shown a lack of the talent that once made them so widely feared by defences across the globe.
It looks all but certain that Eden Hazard and Hulk will be making their way to Stamford Bridge next season.
There aren't any better suited players for Chelsea's needs in the world right now than these two men.
The Belgian and Brazilian stars would allow Di Matteo to play a 4-3-3, or even 4-3-2-1 formation, with Mata and Hazard feeding into Hulk in the centre.
Yes, this is a drastic change to a team that have based so much of their recent history around an "old guard" of players.
But it is a change that can make Chelsea one of the best teams in the world again.
If everything goes according to plan with summer signings, the Chelsea starting XI will look a little bit like the picture attached.
This is a team that could take on any side within the current set up of the Barclays Premier League.
Obviously it will be no walk in the park for Chelsea, who will have to cope with a City side who can sign players at relative will and a United team that under Sir Alex should never be discounted.
But, with the players available to them at the start of the coming year, Chelsea have to be viewed as one of the top teams in Europe.
Of course, to assume that new partnerships and teamwork instantly forms success is foolish.
It will take a lot of work and playtime to make the Chelsea machine start working as efficiently as it used to under Jose Mourinho.
But the potential is there.
If Di Matteo can motivate his men like he did in the conquest of the Champions League, then next season, the English domestic system is Chelsea's proverbial oyster.
If I were a gambling man, I would get my money behind the Londoners now before that price is drastically slashed.
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