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Almost half of the season is still to go, but the question - can Chelsea retain the Premier League title or not? is already doing the rounds. This is a routine thing which happens every time, regarding the holders of the title, as the season draws to the end. But why it's any special this time? Well, the reason is, in the case of Chelsea, the coveted Premier League title has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride in these past few years. And we’re not talking about the obvious domination, Manchester City has shown this season, courtesy of which, the title has almost been decided. There are other lingering reasons as well, why Chelsea will most certainly fail to defend its title.

Chelsea have been inconsistent

Although the Stamford bridge outfit has managed to win the title twice over the past three seasons, at the same time they have also managed to finish a lowly 10th in one of the three, which by their standards is just not acceptable. Apart from this, they also missed out on the title during the 2013-14 season with just a meagre four points. All this proves how inconsistent Chelsea have been when it comes to winning the league, and so this question makes absolute sense.

Looking at their recent past record, the chances of them retaining the title can be outright negated, especially after their dismal showing during the first half of the season.

But if we go back a little into their previous underperforming season – the 2015-16 campaign, the lack of transfer activity which followed their title-winning campaign of 2014-15, stands out.

The only notable addition to the team that time was Pedro, bought from Barcelona for a reported £21,000,000. Although the other players who were purchased during the window, cost Chelsea somewhere around £70,000,000 [including Pedro], none of them were able to hold down a regular place and were eventually loaned out or sold.

Lack of transfer dealings

The lack of transfer dealings can be adjudged as the single-most good enough reason for, not only the demise of the then champions, but also the ongoing tumultuous season.

However, a lot changed prior to their recent title-winning campaign, as not just new but actual competent players were brought in. Some big names, some emerging stars, and an old guard were purchased to strengthen the team and to mount a serious title challenge. The noticeable thing was that the transfers which followed were far more sensible than was the case during the previous transfer windows. The players who were brought in were specially handpicked for the respective areas which needed rectifications.

What followed, was for the world to see. At the start of November, just a couple of months into the commencement of the Premier League season 2016-17, Chelsea stormed to the summit of the league and continued to defy the odds by maintaining that position throughout the season, on the way to lifting their 5th Premier League title.

It can be clearly deduced that after winning the title, even though a team has the same set of players going into the new season, it’s an absolute mandate to strengthen the low-output areas. One or the other will always be there, and more so, because the rivals will be strengthening as well.

Talking about our initial question now, going with Chelsea retaining the Premier League is highly unlikely. And there are two reasons for that – the stars of the last season did not perform with the same hunger and the new faces did not quite fulfill expectations. Also, while their rivals spent big and heavy to plug their holes, Chelsea was caught up in negotiations and more negotiations, only.

Will Chelsea make the same mistakes again?

However, with an ever vibrant a manager in Antonio Conte and the lessons learnt from 2015-16 and the current season, it’s hard to see Chelsea committing the same mistakes again. Also, the transfer deadline day of the current season saw some scramble on the club’s part because of the last-minute panic buy of Davide Zappacosta. And although the player gelled in quickly with the team and eventually proved to be a respectable addition, it’d be highly advisable of the club not to repeat such panic buys, from the next season onwards.

Even though it’s a herculean task to clinch the Premier League trophy from the Manchester giant now, a strong fight would go a long way to establishing the club’s credibility and bringing up the lost morale in the team. Chelsea can take a lot of lessons from Manchester City and can put them into play, before the commencement of the next season. One thing that will keep a lot of the fans glued to the news, is how Chelsea will fare during the 2018-19 summer transfer window, which will follow the hugely anticipated Football World Cup 2018.