Richard Buxton: FA Cup win not enough to save Conte's season
Chelsea manager's likely departure means Blues are back to square one, again
Not for the first time, Chelsea's previous solution has deteriorated into their latest problem.
Victory in the FA Cup final on Sunday morning (Singapore time) would see Antonio Conte sign off his second season with another piece of major silverware, but it will still not be enough.
Whichever outcome manifests itself against Manchester United, he is damned either way.
History is also against Conte with Jose Mourinho, his opposite number at Wembley, remaining the only Blues manager to survive after finishing a campaign empty-handed.
The Portuguese ultimately failed to hold on for longer than an additional 18 months.
A complete breakdown of the Italian's relationships with both the boardroom and dressing room at Stamford Bridge will inevitably render him the latest in a growing line of statistics.
Chelsea have not merely changed the face of football under Roman Abramovich; they have redefined its culture.
Everything which the game now represents is attributable to their owner.
The billionaire created the rampant impatience and short-termism which exists at various clubs, both in the English Premier League and further afield, with a policy of hiring and firing at breakneck speed across his current 15-year premiership at Stamford Bridge.
Conte will inevitably become the ninth manager - and a fourth Italian coach - to be sacked on Abramovich's watch after a campaign which saw their EPL title defence collapse almost instantly and culminate in a Champions League qualification shortfall.
VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE
Invariably, the one-time Juventus boss will attempt to claim that he is a victim of circumstance. To a certain extent he is, just not in the way that is likely to be perceived.
His belief that Chelsea can no longer compete financially with the likes of United and Manchester City falls down when you consider the west Londoners are the league's second highest-spending club this season with a £230.6 million (S$417.5m) outlay on just eight players.
That Pep Guardiola's history makers surpassed them by little more than £50m has done little to dampen suggestions that Abramovich is ready to curb his free-spending tendencies.
His metaphorical Russian tanks remain firmly parked on the lawn of the EPL's old order.
His personal whimsy, however, has spawned worrying offshoots beyond the Stamford Bridge boardroom; left-field calls for Conte's removal ahead of Sunday's Wembley showpiece have seen the clamour for a Chelsea "legend" to take the helm once again resurface.
Where fans once demanded Roberto Di Matteo and Gianfranco Zola be installed as manager, Jody Morris is now being held up as the latest ex-player messiah in some quarters.
Abramovich turned to Conte to both disband a dressing-room diktat and provide stability to a club who have been taken back to square one at the first signs of uncertainty.
Yet the old habits continue to die hard. Player power once again threatens to reign supreme, with Eden Hazard casting fresh doubt over his long-term future at the club.
The Belgium international's wait-and-see approach to Chelsea's business in the transfer market before committing to a new contract typifies the legacy his predecessors left behind.
Instead of persevering with the status quo, Abramovich will again prepare to tear up the blueprint with neither an EPL title nor Champions League campaign to contest next season.
That Conte is set to leave Chelsea in a similar state to the one he inherited proves little has changed.