AFTER knocking in seven against Champions League wannabes Aston Villa, you could be forgiven for thinking that everything was looking bright for Chelsea.
But, in a week when the Blues may cease to be only thing standing between Manchester United and a fourth consecutive Premier League trophy, it is clear boss Carlo Ancelotti has no other option than a massive clear out of players.
Chelsea's ageing squad has been in almost constant decline since their second title win in May 2006, and the simple fact is that of the team that thumped Villa on Saturday – half can comfortably be let go.
The place where restructuring really needs to begin is defence, and the most logical place for Ancelotti to start would be in the middle – Chelsea must sell John Terry.
It was in that game against Villa that Terry finally overtook Chopper Harris as the club's most prolific captain – it was his 325th game wearing the armband. But like Harris towards the end of his lengthy and illustrious Stamford Bridge career, Terry is a shadow of the player he once was.
Having taken so many knocks and played through, he is a physical mess. His legs, never the fastest, are now increasingly the cause of defensive lapses when he is unable to keep up with forwards in the world's fastest league.
And only JT and his doctor know how long his back, the centre of most of his problems over recent years, will last in competitive sport.
Combined with the well publicised off-field antics that have seen Terry lose the England captaincy, he is now walking a daily tightrope between team-leader and team-wrecker.
Other members of the 7-1 team who need to be replaced this summer are:
Paulo Ferreira – out of form for so long, it's difficult to recall what an in-form Ferreira looks like. Inexplicably in contract until 2013 (he's 31 now).
Jon Mikel Obi – occasionally looks like the man he tries to impersonate, Claude Makelele. More often looks like a risky-tackling, mis-passing plodder, desperate to put the ball in the back of the stand.
Joe Cole – we all love him, and we all want him to do well, but he's simply not up to playing at top-of-the-league level any more. Frequently linked with a move to Spurs, but ask yourself this – would he even make Harry's first XI?
Deco – against all expectations, looked a world beater on Saturday. But one game a season isn't enough when you are paid £100k a week.
Michael Ballack – sells lots of Chelsea shirts in Germany. Not in itself a reason to put him in the team every week.
Saloman Kalou and Daniel Sturridge – just how many times during a game this season has either of these two been presented with a metaphorical cow's backside, and failed to hit it with the proverbial banjo? Two things that will make you laugh: (1) Arsenal are supposed to have at one stage offered us £10m for Kalou; and (2) we have to pay Man City loads of money if Sturridge plays for England.
Chelsea are at the crossroads right now. Regardless of where the championship ends up this season, if Roman wants to stop the rot then these men have to be shipped out this summer and replaced with a combination of new blood coming through, and big money buys. Either that, or the Europa League beckons.