Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge was supposed to herald a new era for Chelsea.
The Blues were one of the favourites for the Premier League title and Mourinho was expected to bring his silver touch back to the club.
Chelsea could very well finish the season without a trophy, a rarity in itself for Mourinho, who is a perennial trophy collector.
Chelsea’s Champions League exit to Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the semi-final on Wednesday means that the Premier League is the Blues only hope of silverware this season.
Out of the three title contenders the Blues are the outsiders at odds of 14/1 to win the Premier League. Mourinho’s men are only two points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, but Manchester City are only three points behind Liverpool with a game in-hand and superior goal difference.
Both Liverpool and City are in better positions than the Londoners, although the Blues do have an easier game than City or Liverpool on paper this weekend. Chelsea host relegation threatened Norwich. Meanwhile City visit fifth-place Everton and Liverpool face what looks like a difficult trip to Crystal Palace.
Chelsea’s style of play this season has not always been pretty on the eye. It may have been effective at times, but it looks to have ultimately failed to reap rewards this season. The Blues have not just played a cautious style of play in tough away trips, but have also appeared to play the same style in games they really should be winning.
Mourinho has proved in the past that he can create teams that play football with Chelsea in his first spell and at Real Madrid. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has longed for his club to play football like Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, but that is light years away at the moment for the Blues.
To play an attacking style of football a team needs the right players and Chelsea appears to have the right players, but they do not seem the right players for Mourinho. The likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Andre Schurrle are all good attacking players, so why does Chelsea look so workmanlike at times?
Even with those attacking players Chelsea has struggled to break down teams this season and it could cost them the title. Good examples of this have come in 1-0 defeats at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and more recently the 2-1 defeat against Sunderland.
Counter-attacking football can be very effective, when you get it right e.g. Real Madrid against Bayern Munich, but counter-attacking football is not always effective, especially when teams set-up to just defend against you.
This summer will be a big one for Chelsea. The likes of youngsters Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku will return to the club after successful spells elsewhere and Mourinho will bring in players that he believes fit in with his tactics.
Mourinho has made no secret of his wish to bring in new strikers this summer and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa seems to be top of his wanted list. PSG striker Edinson Cavani also seems to be a target for the Blues.
No doubt a top striker would make a big difference to the Chelsea team and the Blues look set to sign one. There are also rumours of Mourinho looking to overhaul his squad completely for next season, with the likes of Eden Hazard and David Luiz being linked with moves elsewhere.
Mourinho is not afraid to make big decisions and sell big players if it is what he believes is best for the team. I really would not rule out big exits from Stamford Bridge this summer, as Mourinho searches for the winning formula.
Jose Mourinho is still one of the best managers in world football. Getting to the Champions League semi-finals this season and still in the race for the Premier League would be regarded as success for most other teams, but it may well be considered failure by some.
When Mourinho has the right players to fit into his system then Chelsea will be even more successful than this season and will win trophies. I have a feeling that the Portuguese boss will be very busy in the transfer market this summer.
Next season we are likely to see similar football from Chelsea, but it is likely to be slightly more effective and I would not bet against Chelsea picking up trophies in the new campaign.
How much tweaking does the Chelsea team need this summer?