12 months ago, many people were fancying Frank Lampard’s Chelsea as title contenders.
This optimism lasted a few months before the wheels came off, and Lampard was subsequently sacked.
Fast forward to the present day, and those high hopes have re-emerged.
Thomas Tuchel came in to replace Lampard and had an immediate impact, winning the Champions League, finishing fourth, and reaching the FA Cup final.
It will be tough to match these achievements, but the German will be up to the task.
It’s no secret what Chelsea’s biggest asset is – the defence. Last season, only Manchester City conceded fewer in the league.
In addition, since the appointment of Tuchel, they have kept 19 clean sheets from a possible 30 in all competitions.
The former Paris Saint-Germain coach has had a very positive impact on the backline. Antonio Rudiger was once on the fringes but has revived his career at Stamford Bridge.
Thiago Silva still has plenty to offer. Reece James and Ben Chilwell do their bit at both ends. N’Golo Kante looks back to his best.
As Sir Alex Ferguson once said, defence wins you titles. If the Londoners can maintain their sternness at the back, they should be up there competing for the trophy.
Up the other end, the Blues haven’t been so productive. Seven Premier League teams scored more than the 58 they scored last term, and their top scorer was Jorginho with seven.
And the damage continued well into Tuchel’s reign. In the German’s 30 games in charge, only 13 times did they score more than one, and only once did they score more than two.
They have been able to get away with it due to their defensive solidity, but whether this is sustainable over a full season remains to be seen.
Star man – Kai Havertz
Kai Havertz made a slow start to his career in England. He bagged his first league goal for the club in his fifth appearance against Southampton but had to wait another six months for the next one.
Towards the end of the campaign, however, he began to show glimpses of why Chelsea shelled £71 million for his services.
He capped off his season with the winning goal in the Champions League final against Manchester City, latching onto Mason Mount’s pass before rounding Ederson and slotting into an empty net.
If he can push on from this, he will be like a new signing. The signs have already looked bright in pre-season, scoring in a friendly against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Havertz’s season could depend on the role that he plays. As of now, it looks like he could play further forward, although he could be forced deeper if Chelsea bring in a new striker before the end of the window.
So far, it’s been a very quiet summer at Stamford Bridge, signing only Marcus Bettinelli to be a back-up goalkeeper. However, that could all be about to change in the coming weeks.
Former player Romelu Lukaku has recently been linked with a move back to the Blues following a highly successful spell at Inter Milan.
If they can get a deal completed in time, the Belgian could be the goalscorer that they are currently missing.
Another player rumoured is Sevilla’s Jules Kounde. Negotiations are still in progress, but nothing has been agreed yet. The France international would strengthen an already solid defence.
As for outgoings, no one too important has departed. Olivier Giroud and Fikayo Tomori were sold to AC Milan, and Billy Gilmour has gone on loan to Norwich City for the season.
Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma could also be exiting. Both players are out of favour with Tuchel, and Chelsea are looking to sell them on to raise funds.
Tuchel has already put a Champions League in the trophy cabinet – can he add the Premier League to it this season?
Well, a lot of that will depend on what happens in the transfer window over the next few weeks. With their current squad, Chelsea would probably fall short due to a lack of firepower.
However, the proposed signing of Lukaku could be a game-changer for them. He already has over 100 Premier League goals and has come a long way since his spell at Manchester United. He could be the final piece of the puzzle.
It should be an interesting campaign at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction: Title contenders.