If there was a silver lining to crashing out of the Champions League against Barcelona, it was that Chelsea’s fixture congestion would ease. Players would finally get a full week’s rest between matches, and the additional training time would give manager Antonio Conte the opportunity to work the same magic that he did under a similar schedule last season.
However, it’s not going to happen, not entirely anyway. It’s true that we basically have a full week between two of our next three matches — leading into West Ham and then Southampton away.
But progress in the FA Cup doesn’t come free. Chelsea’s postponed Premier League match against Burnley had to be rescheduled somewhere. The Prem (and their TV partners) have selected the Thursday night before our Sunday semi-final against Southampton at Wembley as the new date.
Our Premier League match against Burnley will now take place on Thursday 19 April... pic.twitter.com/Ob2hHV9oqR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 22, 2018
After that — in theory — we’re back to a full week of rest between fixtures. Except that it won’t actually happen. We still have a postponed home match against Huddersfield Town that needs to be played and is currently floating in the wind, untethered by a new date. It will eventually be moored somewhere among the Swansea (home), Liverpool (home) and Newcastle (away) matches.
That’s not exactly ideal for a club that probably can’t afford to lose any of those games. On the other hand, if we’re still in the business of looking for silver linings, we could say that the lads are used to a packed schedule by now. And they’ll win despite the dastardly schedule-makers.