The heat in the race for the top four in the Premier League continues to heighten, and it’s all down to the recent form being displayed by Antonio Conte’s men as they really have not given up the fight for a place in the UEFA Champions League, just like the club boss had insisted some days before Liverpool’s visit to Stamford Bridge last Sunday.
Chelsea ran away 1 nil winners over Liverpool on Sunday in a match they had to win at all costs, and the Blues lived up to expectation in a feisty encounter, all thanks to a well placed and looping header from Frenchman Olivier Giroud after some good work down the wings by Victor Moses. The result now puts pressure on the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur who must now win all their remaining games to ensure that Chelsea doesn’t have a sniff of a top-four finish this season.
Despite the win, Chelsea still doesn’t have their destiny in their own hands as they must rely on a slip from Spurs this midweek or in the last Premier League Matchday of the season, while they must also win all their remaining Premier League fixtures starting with a tricky tie at Stamford Bridge against Huddersfield Town who are still battling to retain their place in the Premier League next season, as the relegation scrap at the bottom gets hotter, with the likes of Swansea and Southampton putting up fights to ensure that they don’t go down as the final relegated team. They could provide Chelsea with some good challenge going by the point they garnered away at the Etihad against a rampaging Man City.
Antonio Conte’s men have struggled for goals this season, and their current goal difference is poor compared to that of Spurs and Liverpool who are their main rivals in the race for the top 4. This could count for something on the final day of the season. It doesn’t get any better for the Blues as they must rely on Liverpool and Spurs to slip further in games where they appear to be overwhelming favorites. Meanwhile, Chelsea have shown resilience in their recent run of games to close the gap on their direct rivals for the top four and there is the possibility for those above them to deliver one final slip-up in the remaining games.
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However, that defeat to Spurs at Stamford Bridge might come back to haunt Chelsea, as that result effectively put Spurs in pole position for top four success in this race. Regardless, Conte and his men must concentrate on winning their next two tricky ties, one being a trip to face Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle in the last day of the season. Chelsea now smell blood, and they must strive to maintain their current form and run to allow the pressure they mount to speak for them against their rivals.
The seeming recent inconsistencies affecting Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur could work for Chelsea on or before the final day of the season, but they must overcome the hurdle of Huddersfield Town and Newcastle, with no less than 6 points garnered from these games.