Manchester City an Unlikely, Stealthy Backer of Chelsea's Champions League Run

Phil KeidelContributor IIApril 10, 2014

Keep your eyes on the big prize, Chelsea.
Keep your eyes on the big prize, Chelsea.Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

"Come on Chelsea" is normally the last thing you would ever expect to hear Manchester City supporters say.

Until now. City supporters will be pulling vociferously for their London rivals to play courageously and surge toward a trophy.

Not in the Premier League, mind you. In the Champions League.

City fans are not going to be pulling for Chelsea in any of their five remaining Premier League fixtures—with the possible exception of Chelsea's visit to Anfield to play Liverpool on April 27. Indeed, City fans would love to see Chelsea win that match and lose the other four in the league.

That would do fine for City boss Manuel Pellegrini, who was famously disrespected by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho earlier this season, an incident which helped relight the fuse on their longstanding feud.

For the next six weeks, though, Pellegrini and the whole City operation should be firmly behind Chelsea's Champions League run, because each Champions League success for Mourinho's side adds fixtures to Chelsea's slate and diverts at least some of their attention from the chase for the Premier League crown.

And, it must be said, additional Champions League action further wears on a group of players that have already played 50 competitive matches this season. Those added matches can bring unintended and unwelcome consequences, as Eden Hazard would no doubt attest.

Caps should be tipped to Mourinho for the escape he engineered against PSG.
Caps should be tipped to Mourinho for the escape he engineered against PSG.Julian Finney/Getty Images

Mourinho is basking in the plaudits from many corners following his side's conjurer's act in the dying moments to wrest a Champions League semi-final berth from Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge.

Giving credit where it is due, Mourinho was masterful in that match, and his unwavering confidence in his tactics and his players paid a huge dividend against PSG.

But the mountain's ascent becomes steeper and acutely perilous the higher Chelsea go in the Champions League. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid remain in the draw; two legs against any of those sides will wring a squad out.

Meanwhile, City and Liverpool have nothing but Premier League matches left to play.

So let Chelsea continue this thrilling (for them) quest for another Champions League trophy.

City would be fine to see Chelsea win the Champions League if it means that Chelsea might drop points in the Premier League.

On second thought, you're right. City would be fine to see Chelsea lose in the Champions League final, dropping Premier League points along the way.

Much better.