A year ago today, Chelsea were 14th in the Premier League table, 19 points off the league leaders – with their season long past the point of being labelled a write-off. Having since been transformed by Antonio Conte, their fortunes couldn't be more different. Racking up 13 straight wins, the Blues have a fifth Premier League title firmly in their sights.
What they need
Conte has found harmony in his 3-4-3 formation, with the tactical change breathing life into Victor Moses' career in West London. He and Marcos Alonso are now integral to that system in wing-back roles, but a lack of cover for both positions could present a problem as the season rolls on.
Chelsea do have an option in Michy Batshuayi should the unthinkable happen and Diego Costa is struck down with injury, but Conte's reluctance to use the Belgian suggests he may be on the lookout for another option. Reports also suggest the Italian is looking to continue the defensive rebuild he started in the summer.
Who could join
With any hopes of signing Leonardo Bonucci now dead, Chelsea will examine alternative options at centre-half. Burnley's Michael Keane and Hoffenheim's Niklas Sule are both possibilities, although Bayern Munich's interest in the latter would likely leave Chelsea at a major disadvantage. Fenerbache's Simon Kjaer has also emerged for his annual link with a move to English football.
Djibril Sidibe has enjoyed a superb campaign at Monaco this term and would certainly provide cover for both Moses and Alonso, or perhaps even replace one of the two straight away. But having only joined the club last summer, and Monaco's Champions League campaign still very much alive, a mid-season move seems unlikely. He and teammate Tiemoué Bakayoko are on Conte's radar, according to The Guardian, although Manchester United have also been credited with keen interest in the 22-year-old midfielder by The Daily Telegraph.
Who could leave
Brazil midfielder Oscar has fallen for the riches of the Chinese Super League and is poised to complete his £60m move to Shanghai SIPG – a move that will fund any incoming business at Stamford Bridge this month. John Obi Mikel also looks ready to end his 11-year spell at the club, with clubs in France and Italy considering the Nigeria international. West Ham United are one of the clubs to have reportedly made tentative enquires into the availability of Batshuayi, but all signs so far would indicate he will remain where he is.
As always is the case, expect some more additions to Chelsea's loan army. PSV Eindhoven have waited Marco van Ginkel to recover from the injury that scuppered their move for the midfielder last summer and are likely to return for the Dutchman this month. After aborted loan spells at Real Betis and Watford respectively, Charly Musonda and Kenedy are likely to find new temporary clubs.
What the manager has said
'We must be very pleased for the achievement we have reached now, but it is logical that I look with my club for a solution to arrive in a good position at the end of the season," Conte told Chelsea's official website. "I don't know what will happen in January but in this situation it is important to talk with my club – we have a fantastic relationship – but I have my idea and I prefer to discuss this with the club."