Having gone through most of the season without any fixture congestion issues — even the holiday period treated the Blues quite kindly after last season’s foibles took away any chance of European games this season — and thus having a wide open calendar for potential make-up dates for rescheduled games (like the Watford one that got moved for FA Cup considerations), the scheduling gods (i.e. Sky Sports & the Premier League) still managed to make a mess of things.
Having paid many extra millions to acquire rights to show games on Friday as well, Sky have largely abandoned the concept since using it regularly at the start of the season. Through April, Sky have only used 5 of the 10 available slots they paid for, with only 1 of those occurring in the last seven months (on December 30). But the concept has been resurrected for Chelsea’s trip to the Hawthorns on the penultimate weekend of the season. That match will now kick off at 8pm on Friday, May 12.
But that’s not all. The aforementioned Watford match, which had been without a home since making way two months ago for Chelsea’s FA Cup quarterfinal match against Manchester United, has finally been given a time and date. So, surely, a midweek at some point, yes? Nope! It will now take place on the back end of the same long weekend as the WBA match, on Monday, also at 8pm.
With Chelsea’s match against Middlesbrough also moved to Monday, May 8, Chelsea will have some rather non-standard playing days and times, and a big of extra congestion to deal with at the tail end of the season. Hopefully the title will be all wrapped up by then.
The Blues remaining schedule for the rest of the season is as follows:
Sunday, April 16, 4pm: Manchester United (A)
Saturday, April 22, 5.15pm: Spurs (N) — FA Cup semifinal at Wembley
Tuesday, April 25, 7.45pm: Southampton (H)
Sunday, April 30, 2.05pm: Everton (A)
Monday, May 8, 8pm: Middlesbrough (H)
Friday, May 12, 8pm: West Bromwich Albion (A)
Monday, May 15, 8pm: Watford (H)
Sunday, May 21, 3pm: Sunderland (H)
(Should Chelsea advance to the FA Cup final, that is scheduled for Saturday, May 27.)