Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford has likely condemned Chelsea to a trophy-less season.
Beaten in the League Cup by Newcastle, knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton and now eliminated from the Champions League thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez and Park Ji-Sung.
It’s still mathematically possible for Chelsea to win the Premier League, but it would take a miracle to overturn an 11-point deficit between them and leaders Manchester United.
Marred by injuries to key players, lackluster performances and uncharacteristic tactical insecurities from manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Blues have had a year to forget.
It’s not been a complete disaster and qualification for next season’s Champions League looks likely, but the Stamford Bridge faithful will ultimately look back on the 2010/11 campaign with regret and disappointment.
Deciding where to point the finger is difficult. Ancelotti has had a tough season and may be replaced this summer, but things like Frank Lampard’s injury troubles and Florent Malouda’s loss of form have hardly helped him.
Their narrow system has pedestrian without their starting midfield to its potential and Fernando Torres’ addition has only added further tactical complications.
Regardless of who’s to blame, Chelsea’s squad is in dire need of revitalisation. The players that dominated the league in 2009/10 are not performing to the level they once were, while others are over 30 and reaching the end of their peak years.
Regardless of whether Ancelotti stays on, this Chelsea is unbalanced and full of problems that must be addressed if the club are to improve next season.
Here are five things Chelsea should do to re-establish their supremacy.