After eliminating Slavia Prague with a 5-3 aggregate score in the quarterfinals, Chelsea are now just one hurdle away from the Europa League finals, on which the entire success or failure of the season could depend. Not only is it our best last chance at qualifying for next year’s Champions League (the minimum expectation for this season at the start), but it’s the last and only chance for silverware this season. It may just be the Europa League, but a trophy is a trophy — it’s ingrained in Chelsea’s Abramovich Era DNA and is usually cited as one of the biggest reasons players join the club.
Genuine question... As a fan, would you rather get to the Champions League final and be a runner up or win the Europa League? Just curious.— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) April 19, 2019
Serial-winner N’Golo Kanté is no different. He wants to add another title to his collection that already includes two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup, and a World Cup as well — not to mention countless individual awards.
“We can make the season beautiful by winning the Europa League. That’s the only title we can win now, so it would be great to win the Europa League.”
Chelsea will face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semifinal, with the first leg set to take place in Germany on May 2nd, and the return leg a week later back at the Bridge, where we’ll get to take a first-hand look at the highly coveted young goal-machine, Luka Jović.
Should Chelsea get past the Bundesliga’s fourth best team this season, we would face either Arsenal or Valencia in the final. In years past, we’d have plenty of confidence in beating any of these three teams, but Kanté does not see Chelsea as favourites, and he’s probably not wrong.
We only have to look at last night’s second-half implosion to see some of the team’s greatest shortcomings.
“We’re not favourites. We played a good match tonight and we will do all we can to get to the final. But we’re not favourites.”
“[The second half implosion] is just something that has happened many times this season and something we need to manage a bit better. But we still have to work on that. I think at the beginning of the game it was a good feeling to score three goals like this.”
“The most important thing was to qualify. We’ll go into the semi-final with confidence and we hope to qualify for the final. I think it’s important to be in the semi-finals, it was our target.”
-N’Golo Kanté; source: Goal
You have to be in it, to win it, as they say. But first, a couple Premier League games that could yet propel Chelsea into a top four finish, even. Onwards and upwards!