Could Chelsea's cup run cost them a top four finish?
Chelsea opinion: Fixture congestion could leave the squad exhausted for Premier League battle
After their 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup 6th round, Chelsea find themselves still battling on three different fronts.
With eight Premier League as well at least one FA Cup and two Europa League matches left to play, Chelsea face a difficult and extremely important climax to their season.
They face a battle to finish in the Champions League places, and will strive to perform to their maximum in the two cup competitions. As such, the squad will be stretched to its limit under a manager in Rafa Benitez who is known for his former mishaps when ‘tinkering’ with his sides.
Furthermore, given Benitez’s role as interim manager, and as ESPN reported, that he will be leaving the club in the summer after his contract runs out, he may well focus on winning trophies instead of securing Chelsea’s future European status.
The importance of attaining a place in next season’s Champions League is much greater to the Chelsea board than to a manager who only has two months left in charge.
It may well be down to Chelsea’s senior players to ensure that there are no slip-ups in their league form before the end of the season, however the advantage that may have been handed to Chelsea’s rivals may prove to be too great. For example, the fixture between Chelsea and rivals Tottenham will be rescheduled due to the FA Cup semi-finals, and consequently Spurs will have a beneficial weekend off to rest.
If Chelsea manage to defeat Manchester City in the semi-finals then it would seem natural that a number of their players will have their eye on Wembley and therefore may not want to risk injuring themselves during games. If this happens then Chelsea may find that their league form suffers.
Ultimately Chelsea may well discover the difficulties of trying to achieve success in multiple competitions, and it will be interesting to see how their season finishes, and what part Rafa Benitez’s management plays in it.
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