Chelsea’s Champions League hopes for next season remain on track but thanks for their good fortune lies with Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe and former Blue Dom Solanke.
The youngster’s hat-trick at Dean Court in the South Coast side’s remarkable 4-1 defeat of Leicester City – with whom Chelsea are battling for the third Champions League spot in the final domestic league table – kept Frank Lampard’s hopes alive after what was a dreadful result at Brammall Lane on Saturday evening.
The 3-0 defeat by Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United was, for the Yorkshire side, a brilliant win and keeps The Blades’ own dreams of qualifying for a Europa League entry a reality.
However, according to reports and in spite of the apparent defensive frailties that are hindering Lampard’s plans, those who know their Chelsea well were not surprised when they checked the full-time score.
Again, and for those who ‘know their football’, the threat by already relegated Norwich City who visit Stamford Bridge may also be somewhat of a concern.
There have been countless occasions in the past when teams who have been relegated but still have their league fixtures to fulfil often start to play the type of football that might, had they done so prior to their points deficit, have saved them from the drop.
So, as Daniel Farke brings his men to SW6 for Tuesday’s game, those playing for The Canaries may well, with their fate clear, perform without the shackles that often inhibit and mentally hold back players who can usually perform to a higher degree but are constricted because of the fear of the ‘drop’.
Earlier this season and in the reverse fixture played at Carrow Road, Chelsea earned their first victory under Lampard with a 3-2 win, the goals coming courtesy of a brace from Tammy Abraham, who scored the first and third with Mason Mount’s strike accounting for the Londoners’ second.
Following the recent additions to the Chelsea squad in the shape of Timo Warner and Hakim Ziyech, it has been suggested their arrival might have unsettled the squad that started at the beginning of the campaign.
Quite correctly, the Chelsea manager and following the defeat on Saturday, Lampard inferred that the players currently in his charge need to show him a lot more if they intend to remain in contention for a place in the side.
With three league fixtures and an FA Cup Semi-Final to play, it seems that those in the squad with their socks around their ankles had better be prepared to pull them up…
Win or lose, Up The Blues!
About the Author
Londoner David Johnstone is a home, away and European away Chelsea supporter and has missed just six matches since 2001 (although he’s quick to state there are plenty of other supporters with better attendance records than him).
He has been involved with the fanzine scene at Chelsea since around 1991 and started the ‘cfcuk’ fanzine in 1999 which was, until Mr Abramovich bought the club in 2003, named ‘Matthew Harding’s Blue And White Army’.
David was also responsible for forming both the Chelsea Supporters’ Group and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust which are the main two bodies that represent the followers of Chelsea FC and take their concerns to those running the club.
A founder of the highly regarded Chelsea FanCast weekly podcast (but is no longer involved) and responsible for the crowd surfing banners and supporter displays that are seen in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge on matchdays.
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