By the time next season rolls around, it will mark the fourth anniversary of Chelsea’s last Premier League title win.
Although their Champions League triumph under Roberto Di Matteo in 2012 gave Chelsea owner Roman Ambramovich the continental kudos he craved, a return to becoming the best team in England is back on the agenda.
Despite the seemingly endless negativity surrounding the appointment of Rafa Benitez as interim coach in November, Chelsea have an excellent chance of getting to two cup finals and finishing as runners-up in the Premier League.
Here are five reasons why Chelsea can do it in 2013-14.
It’s debatable what’s more scary about Romelu Lukau. Is it his physicality? His pace? Or maybe the fact that he’s only 19.
Despite his £18 million price tag, his arrival from Anderlecht in August 2011 was put in the shade a little by the signings of Juan Mata and Gary Cahill—players who were brought in to make more of an immediate impact.
Under the careful tutelage of Steve Clarke, Lukaku has blossomed.
He has scored 13 goals in the Premier League and made two more.
He is Albion’s most effective striker with more key passes, shots and dribbles than any of the club’s other forwards (via whoscored.com).
Only the two centre-backs at Albion, Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson, have won more balls in the air (via whoscored.com).
Lukaku has scored as many goals as Chelsea’s main striker, Demba Ba, and six more in the league than Fernando Torres.
He is more effective in the air than the current Chelsea pair and loses the ball less often (all via whoscored.com)
Given the impact he has had at The Hawthorns, Chelsea will be tempted to integrate him into the side next season to see what he can do with better players around him.
Lukaku’s idol growing up was Didier Drogba, and he may be the man to pick up Drogba’s mantle.
Although the days of massive spending are likely to be consigned to history, this summer should see Chelsea’s owner Roman Ambramovich splash out in the pursuit of making the club kings of England again.
The Russian billionaire has famously spent around £2 billion turning Chelsea into champions of England and Europe, but not winning a Premier League title for four years will hurt.
Unless Oriol Romeu will prove up to the job?
For a combined fee of more than £50 million, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard have been under pressure to deliver.
In 2012-13, Mata has led the way thanks to an awesome season.
The Spain international has scored 17 goals in all competitions and has contributed over 30 assists, which means he’s had a hand in over 40 percent of all Chelsea’s 117 goals so far (via stats.football365.co.uk).
In the Premier League, he has 10 of each.
It will take something special to repeat that sort of contribution, but if anyone's capable of doing so, it's Mata.
Hazard is more of a work in progress.
After scoring six goals in the first four months of the season, the Belgian has come alive since January 2013 with eight in 17 games (via soccerbase.com).
He has won five man of the match awards, and only Mata has more assists and key passes than him (via whoscored.com).
Chelsea will not lack for creativity in 2013-14, that's for sure.
Ever since Rafa Benitez replaced the popular Roberto Di Matteo as manager in November 2012, Chelsea has not been a happy club.
Despite the upheaval, the club are in with a chance of winning two cups this season.
If they can win some silverware, against the backdrop of unrest, what greater things can they achieve with a new, more harmonious ethos next season?
The final factor that will turn Chelsea into Premier League champions again is getting Jose Mourinho back as manager.
Even Sir Alex Ferguson thinks Chelsea, with Mourinho back at the helm, would be serious contenders.
With Mourinho in charge of a better squad with a rejuvenated, happier attitude, the 2013-14 title can be theirs.