A win at the Etihad this weekend is more important for Chelsea than many will think.
Chelsea scraped their way through in the Europa League last night with a narrow aggregate win over Sparta Prague. Attention now turns to a very important match away to Manchester City this weekend.
A fourth away defeat of the season for Chelsea could see them passed by Spurs as they drop into fourth place. If Arsenal also win, they will also close the gap on the West London team.
Momentum is very important at the back end of the season but it can also have a counter effect and if Chelsea lose to Manchester City, they may start a slide out of the top four from which they never recover.
The important thing for Chelsea fans is to have faith in the experience in the team. Several players such as Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard have all experienced tight final parts of Premier League seasons.
They know the importance of Champions League football to the club, especially after Chelsea failed to defend their European title in the way they would have hoped.
It’s this gritty, determination and experience from the older and wiser players which means if Chelsea lose to Manchester City, it won’t be through a lack of trying but because they were genuinely outplayed by a better team.
The worst case scenario for Chelsea is a defeat in this game followed by an overhaul from clubs who step above them towards third and fourth places.
It would be abysmal for the club if they did not finish with Champions League football ahead of next season. If that happened then who knows what would happen in the summer considering the randomness and unpredictability of Roman Abramovich’s actions.
If anything Chelsea should be planning a clear and precise away win because Manchester City could start to show a heavy degree of panic. They will be attacking like mad men to try and make up that 12 point gap.
This is something Chelsea can capitalise on and they could find themselves with a four point gap from Spurs if they win and other results go their way.
Chelsea are only four points behind Manchester City so a win will take them to within touching distance of the current Premier League champions, remarkable given the current perceptions of both clubs within the British public.
How important do you think a win is for Chelsea?
image: © alfonso jimenez