Sitting at the top of the Premier League, in the knockout stage of the Champions League and a two-legged tie with Liverpool away from a Capital One Cup final berth, things couldn’t be going much better for Chelsea.
Their stellar showings in the first half of the campaign have prompted manager Jose Mourinho to declare that he won’t be doing any shopping in the January transfer window.
But with closest rivals Manchester City without skipper Vincent Kompany and talisman Sergio Aguero for the foreseeable future and midfield lynchpin Yaya Toure off to the African Cup of Nations, the Blues are likely to be presented with an opportunity to put a wedge of points between them and the Citizens.
It’s a chance that could be squandered if they succumb to their own injuries and suspensions, however, with some areas of the team particularly light.
Here are the two departments Chelsea need to augment in January:
The west Londoners’ back four can be impenetrable at times, but in terms of numbers, they’re no better off than Arsenal.
Unlike the Gunners, they’ve had the good fortune that none of their frontline stoppers have been sidelined for long periods.
Gary Cahill, John Terry and Kurt Zouma are their only centre-halves, with Branislav Ivanovic able to cover in case of emergency, leaving Felipe Luis and Cesar Azpilicueta their only natural full-backs.
It’s an impressive roster, but two injuries could lead to disarray in the ranks when John Obi Mikel lines up at centre-back.
Diego Costa’s paper hamstrings are sure to come in for some superficial damage in the furore of the festive fixture card, leaving just Loic Remy, a man apparently of substandard physical stature to play for Liverpool, and veteran Didier Drogba as Mourinho’s only alternatives.
The Special One cited last season’s inability to score goals as the key reason for their falling away in the title race, so their success this season must obviously hinge on the same factor.
Keeping the current trio fit for the remainder of the season is an unrealistic aspiration, so forking out for a new line-leader is essential.