Hey everyone, this is my first Chelsea post so I'll give a quick bio. I'm born and raised in Orlando and currently enrolled at Florida International University in Miami. The first football game, that wasnt a world cup match, I ever sat down to watch was a Chelsea v. Everton match that I watched in a pub in London. That day I was a Chelsea fan for survival but since then I've been a Blue.
Now on to my point. There are currently three races at the end of the season that will be effecting Chelsea's UCL qualification. Those races come from the EPL title race, La Liga title race and the fight to avoid relegation to England's second level. Here is how those races will effect Chelsea:
The La Liga races is the most obvious. Now that it seems that Barca can't take the title after their loss to Real They will be coming after us with everything they got. Graham had an excellent write up on this so I am not going to go that deep into it. http://www.weaintgotnohistory.com/2012/4/22/2966610/barcelonas-vs-chelsea-2012
The next races is the Championship race between ManU and Man City. Based on appearances there is nothing that Man U could do to assist us, except they did it today by drawing with Everton. Now the door is open for City and they will be giving every game their all. If City beat Man U next Monday then both teams will be deadlocked and looking to win on goal difference, so the teams they face will have to fend off furious attacking efforts. We currently stand 4 points behind Newcastle with a game against them. Assuming we win out the rest of the season (obviously beating Newcastle in the process) then there is still a point difference between us and them. That means we would need Man City to defeat or draw with Newcastle away, which would put us 2 points clear of them.
The final race that our fate is intertwined with is the race out of the bottom three. As of right now we sit behind the sinking ship that is Tottenham by 1 point. They have no games against the top 5, but one against Everton who, as mentioned earlier, can force even top competition to drop points. Today Wolverhampton just clinched relegation (I doubt they had chilled champagne for that) which leaves 2 spots left. Bolton, Blackburn, QPR and Wigan are all within 4 points of each other with Bolton at the bottom, but with 2 more matches left than the rest. Obviously no team wants to be relegated, which is why many people consider fixtures against these teams as very difficult.
Tottenham's next two fixtures are against Blackburn (H) and Bolton (A), both will be looking for any kind of points. They also have a match against Aston Villa (A), who have drawn more games than any other team in the EPL and their finale with Fulham (H), who will be looking for a top 8 finish (which means nothing) and showed us that they can be dangerous. Given their current form it is highly conceivable that Tottenham drop all of these games, but we just need them to do it once.
Newcastle's next match will be away at Wigan. Yesterday Wigan lost against Fulham but demonstrated their danger with wins against Arsenal and ManUre in their 2 previous games. Newcastle then have the match away against us than home vs City. They finish away against Everton, whom could give us some assurance with a home victory and hold onto the 7th spot (which also means nothing).
Obviously it will all be on our shoulders to win out or games, and we do not have an easy domestic schedule. We are going to have a London derby QPR at home off of a short rest. Grant it our 2nd leg vs Barca is TUesday and the fixture is on a Sunday, which does bode well, but at this part of the season fatigue is always a problem and matches against Barca tend to make players a wee bit tired. Next will be the most important match, home vs Newcastle. This will be at home on 6 days rest so I have no concerns other than the opponent, whom we've beaten 3-nil already, but I'm still worried looking t our current track against top 5 teams in EPL play (0-2-1 in past 3 games). Afterwards is most likely our most difficult fixture, away at Liverpool with 3 days rest. Of course the game 3 days before is against Liverpool for the F. A. Final, so both teams will be tired, but I fear that will lead to the same sluggish 0-0 draw that our match this past Saturday vs. Arsenal was. Assuming we take 3 points from all of these games, we still have a match against Blackburn at home to end the EPL season. This will be 6 days before the CL Final (assuming we advance Barca) so my only concern is a team trying to avoid relegation, but at that point the bottom positions may already be locked up.
So there you have it. My analysis of Chelsea's fight for European qualification domestically. It will not be an easy ride and we must be at the top of our form all of the time, but I feel we can still do it. However qualification or not I will always KTBFFH over Miami.
P.S. Thank You to the few of you who have actually read all the way to this point. As a reward here is a link to a monkey stealing a hubcap http://4.mshcdn.com/wp-content/gallery/10-funniest-gif-trends-of-2011/abd-141.gif