With the draw today, Chelsea find themselves in a situation where they will need to fit a replay with Manchester United into their busy schedule between now and the semifinal date at Wembley. There's one big problem with that though, as Chelsea don't have any open dates in which to make up the game at the moment.
The semifinals are already scheduled to be played on April 13 and 14, and with Wembley booked, I see little reason to believe the FA would push one of those games back. So what does our schedule look like between now and then? Why don't we take a look:
- March 14 - Steaua Bucharest (Europa League)
- March 17 - West Ham United (Premier League)
- March 22-26 - FIFA international match days
- March 31 - At Southampton (Premier League)
- April 4 - Europa League quarterfinal (possibly open)
- April 6 - Sunderland (Premier League)
- April 11 - Europa League quarterfinal (possibly open)
That doesn't leave any open dates at the moment in which to schedule the game. Midweek this week is definitely out, as the Europa League won't be willing to push us elsewhere to accommodate another competition. The FIFA break is also out, as players will have quite a bit of travel before and after their fixtures.
The midweek dates in April would seem to be the best available time for Chelsea, but it's still probably 50/50 on whether or not they'll be advancing. Should they squeak by Steaua, those dates will be out as well.
That would leave two dates as the obvious ones. Should the FA want to get this thing scheduled ASAP, they would probably bump the upcoming game with West Ham to get the FA Cup tie decided, leaving that game to be made up at a later date. The best bet is probably to wait and see on this week's Europa game though*, and bump the Southampton game accordingly.
*While Manchester United have a game to reschedule with West Ham from this weekend, they have both of those midweek dates free at the moment
If Chelsea keep winning, this fixture congestion isn't going to go away at anytime in the near future. Today's draw forced the Fulham game to be postponed, and a date has not been set to make that one up yet. If we advance in Europa, that will leave a second Premier league game to be made up, and advancing to the FA Cup semis would force us to postpone our game that weekend (Tottenham at Stamford Bridge). All in all, this is turning into quite the mess. But hey, at least we didn't lose...