Nicolas Anelka believes this year's Premier League title is up for grabs after champions Manchester United lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez this summer.
The pair were instrumental in the Red Devils' third consecutive league triumph last season as Sir Alex Ferguson's men crossed the finishing line four points ahead of Liverpool.
However, United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80million while Tevez is now with rivals Manchester City after rejecting a lucrative five-year deal to stay at Old Trafford.
Anelka, who spent three seasons at Eastlands between 2002 and 2005, believes losing two keys players gives the likes of Chelsea hope they can secure their first title since the 2005/06 campaign.
The former Bolton and Fenerbahce striker believes with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm Chelsea have a better chance of finishing top of the tree, although he believes City could be the dark horse.
Not as strong
"I don't think United will be as strong this season because Ronaldo has gone and Carlos Tevez has gone," explained Anelka.
"That could give us more chance to be stronger than them.
"United have lost two big players so it gives everyone else - including ourselves - a big chance to win it.
"Maybe this season - because we have a strong squad and everyone is together - we have a better chance.
"It is going to be a tough title race. They are all very strong. Even Man City have some good players."
Meanwhile, Anelka is tipping his partnership with Didier Drogba to blossom this season due to their understanding and unselfish play.
The French marksman admits one of the reasons he left Bolton for Stamford Bridge was to play alongside Drogba.
"I think Drogba and I can be the best partnership in England because we are strong together as a pair," he continued.
"I always want him to score, he always wants me to score. We have a good understanding and we like to play together. What is possible is for us?
"To win the Premier League and if we do it will be because we will both get chances to score from each other.
"That is what will give us more chance of winning the title. When I signed for Chelsea I always thought I would play with Didier.
"I wanted to play with him and he wanted to play with me as well and, overall, last season I think we did well as a partnership.
"Now we have the chance to start the season together up front to score goals."