Chelsea FC: 5 Reasons League Should Remain Blues' Top Priority
Chelsea pulled off a remarkable 4-1 win over Napoli in front of their own fans at Stamford Bridge that ensured England will have a representative in the quarterfinals of this season’s Champions League.
It was a result that perhaps few saw coming, but one that showed plenty of fight and ambition from the Blues’ players, and progress to the last eight was, in the end, fully deserved.
Even though the Blues have another round of Champions League action to look forward to, Roberto Di Matteo’s focus should still remain on the Premier League.
The Champions League might be Roman Abramovich’s Holy Grail, but here are five reasons why Chelsea’s top priority should still be the league—and, as usual, feel free to have your say in the comments below.
The Season Is Far from Over
The way some pundits have made things seem, we might as well wait for August to come at Stamford Bridge.
But Chelsea’s season is far from over.
Having played 28 games, the Blues still have 10 left in the Premier League season.
And it’s some run-in.
With trips to Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool still to come—and Tottenham and Newcastle still to visit—there’s plenty of excitement left in the league for fans and neutrals to look forward to.
The title might be out of reach, but there’s still plenty to play for in the league.
Top Four Within Reach
Most importantly, that coveted top-four finish is still within Chelsea’s reach.
Courtesy of third-placed Tottenham’s disappointing recent form, Chelsea suddenly find themselves only four points behind Spurs and three behind Arsenal in fourth.
With such pivotal fixtures left on Chelsea’s calendar, the race for fourth place could fluctuate wildly in the coming weeks.
What might have seemed to be out of reach, with Arsenal’s rapid rejuvenation, might just be attainable come May.
Champions League Win Is a Stretch at Best
And Chelsea would do well to secure fourth spot, because qualifying for next year’s Champions League the other way—winning the competition outright—will be a tough, tough task.
While Wednesday’s night win against Napoli showed the best of Chelsea, they are a team whose most seasoned stars in the Champions League are in decline.
Even if Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry are still capable of producing the goods on the grandest stages, in their way still stand European powerhouses Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich—to name but three.
Finishing fourth seems a bit less lofty an aspiration.
Champions League Football Is a Must to Attract Top Players
Simply put, Champions League qualification is a must for Chelsea.
With the Premier League big boys having expanded to a top six (and perhaps a top seven if Newcastle sustain their high-flying form), Chelsea will meet plenty of fierce competition within the Premier League.
What used to be a huge attraction for Chelsea—money—is no longer Roman Abramovich’s monopoly, as Manchester City have shown their financial muscle in recent seasons.
Manchester United and Arsenal have their traditional appeal towards players around the world, while Tottenham have gained significant interest with their impressive rise—this being reflected in the quality of players linked with Spurs.
Not only will Chelsea need the Champions League to attract the best players, but they’ll need it to grab the best coaches as well.
If Roberto Di Matteo doesn’t last the distance, that is.
League Form Reflects Consistency
The euphoria surrounding the stunning Napoli win is all well and good—and justified—but in a cup competition, one-off performances are the key.
League form, on the other hand, reflects a consistent quality over the course of a season.
It is a measure of Manchester United’s mentality and competitiveness that they might finish the season with the Premier League title, but without any players in the Team of the Year.
By Chelsea’s standards, 2011-2012 has been far from their best, and finishing the season on a good run of form would do wonders for both players and prospective signings.
After all, participation in a knockout competition might end unjustly via one kick of the ball, while the final placing in the league is determined via results over 38 games.
If you liked this article, you might also be interested in 5 Reasons Fernando Torres Should Never Have Signed for Chelsea. Please also check out my writer’s profile, where you can find more of my work, and my blog, The Red Armchair, for Liverpool match reactions and opinions.