The goal many Chelsea fans set for the team heading into the highly anticipated 2021/22 campaign was a title challenge. That was before all of the COVID-19 issues, the injuries, the fixture congestion, the off-field issues and much, much more. It’s been an eventful season to say the least, but Thomas Tuchel and his men aren’t accepting any excuses. Despite all of these forces of nature acting against them, the Blues have still managed to separate themselves from the remainder of the league alongside the two teams currently contending for the title.
Chelsea’s winter struggles saw the club drop from first to third in the table, and at one point, its north London rivals were right on its tail for third place. The Blues have since widened that gap once again. They’ve effectively opened up an eight-point cushion on both Arsenal and Tottenham, just as long as they’re able to win their game in-hand over Spurs—coincidentally against the Gunners—on April 20. Chelsea’s 6-0 drubbing of Southampton on Saturday essentially secured its place in the top four this season as the Premier League reaches the 30 and 31-game marks.
Chelsea all but secured its place in the Premier League’s top four on Saturday
The Blues travelled down to St. Mary’s on the back of two consecutive, hefty defeats at the hands of Brentford and Real Madrid. Their London rivals are both in scorching form at the moment, so needless to say the game at Southampton was a must-win for numerous reasons. Tuchel’s men put in an excellent shift, wasting no time getting the rout started inside 10 minutes. It was a mature performance from the visitors that was uncharacteristic from Chelsea sides of years past.
It was a massive three points for the Blues, especially considering the results elsewhere during the day. Arsenal dropped its second straight Premier League match to a mid-table side, tasting defeat at home to Brighton by a score of 2-1. Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard also did his beloved club a favor when Everton stunned Manchester United, 1-0, in the early afternoon tie.
Chelsea’s victory—combined with the losses from two direct competitors—all but locked up a place in the top four for a team that’s spent the entire season in the Champions League qualification spots. For the first time in three years, the Blues likely won’t have to sweat out their results in the final weeks of the season. This is music to supporters’ ears, especially seeing as Leicester City isn’t inside the top four, so the Foxes cannot bottle it at Chelsea’s expense.
The win over Southampton can be summed up in one word: dominant. A response of this manner from Tuchel’s men showed spectators that there will be no slipping up this time around. The German gaffer doesn’t have the patience for silly mistakes, nor will he allow his team to lose sight of everything it’s worked for this season.
Chelsea’s got a relatively easy schedule for the remainder of the domestic campaign:
- vs. Arsenal
- vs. West Ham
- at Everton
- vs. Wolves
- at Leeds United
- at Manchester United
- vs. Leicester City
- vs. Watford
Therefore, one would favor the Blues to continue to ride this momentum through the end of next month. The club will find out its fate in the other two competitions it’s currently involved with, the Champions League and FA Cup, before it even takes the pitch against the Gunners in 10 days’ time. This will allow Chelsea to focus completely on continuing its charge toward a top four place. As we’ve seen over the last 15 months, Tuchel and the Blues are almost unbeatable once they’re able to focus solely on the task at hand.
Where do you think the Blues finish the season? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!