Advantage Chelsea After Champions League Elimination

Ieuan BeynonCorrespondent IIIMarch 17, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Frank Lampard of Chelsea misses a chance during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea and Inter Milan at Stamford Bridge on March 16, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As Chelsea fans woke this morning, they would probably struggle to see the upside of being knocked out of the Champions League last night. But if you take a closer look then you will see there is one.

The Premiership; this now becomes the No. 1 priority. All attentions should now turn to earning their first title since 2006.

Their challengers for the title, Manchester United and Arsenal, are still in Europe. You feel that this will be their main aim until elimination says otherwise.

So why is this a good thing for Chelsea?

Well their schedule has been reduced by at least two games. Which in the long run will prove to be beneficial, as they will be the fresher side.

Both United and Arsenal don't have the strongest of squads, so the more games they play the weaker they become. United are over-reliant on Wayne Rooney and Arsenal have no strikers.

Chelsea may still be in the FA Cup but ties are played on a Saturday, unless a replay is required. But Chelsea are the only side from the 'big four' left. So they will be outright favourites whoever they play.

The lack of mid-week games allows Chelsea's ageing squad to recover from the previous Saturday.

Also, the return of Michael Essien and Petr Cech will improve the squad even further.

But the main weapon that Chelsea has is leadership.

They have countless players who can step up and be counted. The obvious ones are John Terry and Frank Lampard, who are the icons of this Chelsea team.

But if you look all over the side they have natural leaders. Michael Ballack is captain of Germany. Didier Drogba is the Ivorian captain. Essien has captained Ghana in the past.

So they have all the experience in the world. They need to be strong minded and concentrate on one game at a time.

The most important leader they have though is Carlo Ancelotti. He knows about pressure, after managing Milan and Juventus to countless trophies in Italy.

So Chelsea fans, if you're looking for a silver lining today, then take a look at the team you have and that your manager is a proven world class coach.