Chelsea have been tipped by many pundits and players to lift the Premier League trophy come May 2014.
However, in my opinion, Chelsea need to make a few changes before they can be considered 'favourites' for the coveted trophy.
1. Hire - and keep - a world-class manager
This is one thing that Chelsea have already done, and in Jose Mourinho they have landed one of the best coaches in the game. His track record is exceptional and he has landed major silverware at every top club he has managed, including winning the Portuguese, English, Italian and Spanish leagues.
There will be no problem winning over the fans as there was with Rafael Benitez because Mourinho is already a bona fide Chelsea legend. However, the club cannot afford another acrimonious mid-season departure, as this would seriously derail their progress for years to come.
2. Keep Juan Mata
Last season the diminutive playmaker established himself as the most influential and consistent player in the Chelsea setup, scoring 18 goals and setting up a further 24.
Recently, though, there have been persistent rumours of a move to Barcelona, a scenario which Chelsea must not allow to happen. However, Mata himself has been keen to distance himself from a transfer and the move, at this stage, seems unlikely.
3. Get a midfield enforcer and/or a holding midfielder
The tiki-taka style employed by Chelsea's midfield trio of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar, though pleasing to the eye, has occasionally failed to break down organised defences this season.
The Blues, therefore, need a different sort of player in midfield to replace the largely ineffectual John Obi Mikel or the hard-working but limited Ramires.
A strong holding midfielder who can act as a metronome and break-up opposition play is required, with Roma's Daniele de Rossi having been linked and seeming to fit the bill perfectly.
4. Hope that Manchester United do not buy back Ronaldo
Of course this is not under the control of anyone in the Chelsea setup, but it is crucial nonetheless. Put simply, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are leagues ahead of any other player, and the addition of the Portuguese winger to the already strong Manchester United squad would prove a step too far for Chelsea to compete with - at least in the 2013/14 season.
5. Sign a top striker
Last season, Chelsea relied too much on their attacking midfielders and even their centre-backs, who contributed an astonishing 24 goals between them last season.
Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are simply not prolific enough for a team competing for top honours like Chelsea. Either a poacher such as Mario Gomez or Javier Hernandez or a more complete striker such as Robert Lewandowski, Hulk, or Edinson Cavani must be purchased.
An extra 20+ goals a season would help Chelsea's league campaign immeasurably.
If these five things should happen, I believe it would take an exceptionally strong challenge from the Manchester clubs to take the trophy from Chelsea.
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