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A Weekend Guide to Chelsea's Europa League Chase

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Despite a truly horrid season in which the Blues were out of the title race by October, with seven matches to play, Chelsea have a somewhat reasonable chance to earn Europa League football next season. The Blues currently sit 10th in the Premier League table, with a 6th place finish guaranteeing at least a playoff place, with 7th potentially doing so as well, depending on the winner of the FA Cup.

To eventually reach the Europa League places, Guus Hiddink's side will have to continue their unbeaten run, but will also need a little bit of help from the competition. Here are four key matchups for Chelsea fans to be watching this weekend, and the results that they should be hoping for if they want to have something to watch on Thursday nights next year.

West Ham vs. Arsenal

Saturday, April 10 at 12:45 local time

West Ham currently sit on 51 points, seven ahead of Chelsea having played the same number of matches. In terms of goal difference, the Hammers are +12 compared to Chelsea's +8. so if the Blues managed to make up the seven point gap between now and the end of the season, there's a good chance they'd move ahead of West Ham there, as well.

The Blues are still unlikely to catch West Ham this season, and are just too far behind Arsenal to even consider that scenario. Still, any dropped points by the Hammers would keep the door somewhat ajar, so as unpalatable as it might be to do so, fans hoping for European football of any sort next season should probably be pulling for Arsenal this weekend.

With that said, an Arsenal loss would pretty much ensure that they have no chance of winning the title with just more than a month to go, which would be absolutely hilarious.

Southampton vs. Newcastle

Saturday, April 10 at 15:00 local time

Southampton are three points ahead of Chelsea, having played one more match. They're an identical +8, but haven't scored nearly as many goals as the Blues. Newcastle, and new interim manager Rafa Benitez, are in very real danger of being relegated, so they'll be desperate to earn at least one point, and will probably push very hard for all three.

Realistically, Chelsea's chances of finishing ahead of Southampton are good. Still, old buddy Rafa could do us a solid, and make those chances even better.

Liverpool vs. Stoke City

Sunday, April 10 at 16:00 local time

While very few people will be watching this one instead of Tottenham and United, for Chelsea fans, this is the big on. The Blues are three points behind Stoke at the moment, who have played one more match and have an inferior goal difference. Liverpool currently sit one point ahead of Chelsea, having played one less match, and having a GD of +5, compared to the Blues' +8.

Any result here will be both good and bad, but either a scoreless draw or a Liverpool loss would probably be ideal. I like cheering for tears at Anfield, so that's what I'll be doing.

Tottenham vs. Manchester United

Sunday, April 10 at 16:00 local time

Like West Ham, Chelsea have very little chance to catch United, who are currently nine points ahead of the Blues, having played the same number of matches with the same GD. Still, a Tottenham win would keep them within touching distance if everything broke correctly.

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