Chelsea’s tricky run-in means the Blues need to hit the ground running when the players return from the international break at the start of April. It could even set up what could turn into a season of glory at Stamford Bridge. Who would have thought that after Frank Lampard’s departure?
What a start Chelsea have had to life under Thomas Tuchel. 14 games, 12 clean sheets and 10 wins. He couldn’t have asked for more. International breaks can sometimes halt momentum though, and with a lot of tricky games for the Blues to come, especially towards the end of the season, keeping up current form could be essential in the race for the top four.
Chelsea return to action at home to West Brom on Saturday April 3. On paper, that seems like a good game to ease back in after the break, but the Baggies, although 10 points adrift from safety, will fight and scrap for every point now. The Blues will need to use that game to build back some momentum ahead of trips to Porto and Crystal Palace. Then comes two games in four (or five) days that could determine whether silverware will be on its way to Stamford Bridge this season.
The return leg of Porto, and the cup clash everyone but us Blues fans wanted – Chelsea v Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup. If anyone can take the game to Manchester City based on current form before the international break, it’s us. But that could be a different story if we don’t return firing as we were on all cylinders. Especially with City having all but wrapped up the Premier League title.
The Brighton game needs to be rearranged, but the weekend after the FA Cup semi-final comes what could determine who gets top four – West Ham away. With all respect to the Hammers, who would have thought that would be the case at the start of the season… But that’s another massive game for the Blues that could determine which London club gets Champions League.
After Fulham at the very start of May comes three huge games in eight days – Manchester City, Arsenal, and Leicester City. It doesn’t come much more difficult than that. We can joke about Arsenal’s season all we want, but they did a job on us earlier in the campaign and they’ve been a different team since Martin Odegaard arrived on loan. So that’s not a gimme for three points. Games against Leicester are usually tight too.
And to top it off? Aston Villa away. Who knows what Villa team will turn up given their inconsistency of late, but with it being the final game I’d bet they’d be bang up for it to end what has already been a great season for them on a high.
All-in-all, it looks as if we have one of the toughest run ins out of any top flight team this season. But if we start strong again after the international break, what’s to stop us from silverware and top four? Rebuild that momentum, and we’re a match for anyone. And with the Champions League at stake and the route to the final decided, we can start to dream.