With Chelsea having no chance of a top four finish, and a new manager set to take over this summer, interim manager Guus Hiddink took the opportunity on Saturday to get some fringe players a look. Unsurprisingly, the heavily rotated group didn't look all that sharp, and lost 1-0 to a Swansea side that is now safe from relegation. By the time you've finished reading this, I'll have probably forgotten everything about the match, but here are a few random thoughts that I had while watching:
- With Antonio Conte now officially in place for next season, it's was always likely the we'd see quite a few fringe players and youth getting regular appearances, in order to give the new manager a bit of film on each of them. Unfortunately, that's probably going to lead to an insane number of ridiculous articles suggesting that regulars such as Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, and Nemanja Matic are already 'expendable'.
- I was thrilled to see Baba Rahman get another start, as he's still a very gifted young player that could be excellent for the Blues. With any luck, we'll have learned that selling talented youngsters after a handful of lackluster performances is a terrible idea.
- It would be a lovely thing if Premier League commentators would tone down the xenophobia. It gets a little old hearing about how the damn foreigners are the biggest problem with the league at the moment, but it's particularly hilarious when this match wasn't televised in England, meaning the audience was almost 100% made up of damn foreigners.
- Some of Chelsea's youngsters looked pretty rough today. Matt Miazga, in particular, looks like he should be spending next season out on loan, as the leap from MLS to the Premier League is obviously a big one. As much as he struggled, though, he was still much better than Gabriel today.
- I was curious if we'd see John Obi Mikel at center back at some point before Conte took over. He seems like a guy that could become an option in a three man defensive unit, should the Italian choose to go that route with the Blues.
- Speaking of adjustments, I was just as interested to see Oscar dropping deeper in the midfield as I was by Mikel's move to centerback. I really feel like that sort of move could better utilize his talents.
- Something tells me that Conte won't be rushing to make either of our on-loan strikers' loans permanent.
- Just six more matches before this woeful season is over. That merciful end can't come soon enough.