The arrival of loan striker (and, seemingly, lone striker) Gonzalo Higuain, and the departure of Alvaro Morata, should fill Chelsea fans with hope.
The 31-year-old Argentine started encouragingly enough in the FA Cup… but beating one Wednesday was followed by miserable defeat on another Wednesday as the Blues caved in at Bournemouth.
Playing in curious ‘Man City blue’, Chelsea lost 4-0 on the coast, with Higuain’s improving link-up work with Eden Hazard the only possible crumb of comfort.
A possession error by the increasingly accident-prone David Luiz led to a second-half collapse, allowing David Brooks to add to Josh King’s opener. Two more Cherries goals followed, underlining how much Chelsea have to improve to make proper use of the new front man.
The plan is to put Higuain up front against Saturday’s visitors Huddersfield, but fans are far from happy about manager Morrie Sarri constantly blaming motivation for defeats.
If Higuain builds an understanding with Hazard and Willian, there’s still hope of a top-four finish, but Manchester United – drawn against the Blues at Stamford Bridge in the 5th round of the FA Cup – are breathing down their necks.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won that trophy twice with United, so needs no reminding how important the competition is to supporters.
There’s an edginess and uncertainty about Chelsea which Huddersfield will look to exploit this weekend. The natives are starting to get restless.