There aren’t many cures for failing to stake a claim on a top-4 position after being bullied around your own pitch by Burnley and drawing 2-2, but Arsenal keeping you in 4th by losing 3-1 to Wolves is at least a helpful reminder as to the mechanics of smiling. Not only did Arsenal fail to pickup the points, but the considerable advantage in goal differential they once held has now been cut to two after being outscored 6-3 in their last two matches.
Of course there’s still a lot of work to do, and with Callum Hudson-Odoi — the starlet set to be the wild card that would help get us there, is still in a hospital bed recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured achilles tendon — it will all be up to the old guard. And that’s not as inspiring a thought as it used to be. The one exception is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is currently in his best form in a Chelsea shirt. Still, not only is he continuing to learn a new role, there’s still the lingering concern about his back injury. Everyone choose a deity and pray to it.
So... #PL pic.twitter.com/cYCjKcw11O— Premier League (@premierleague) April 24, 2019
Anyway. To the schedules!
Chelsea’s next opponents are Manchester United, who ran around a lot in an effort to make up for their 4-0 loss to Everton and spoil their blue neighbors’ title hopes. They lost 2-0. The match will be at Old Trafford, so Chelsea’s poor 2019 away form will need to be overcome, especially if United find space in their lungs to go all out for the win that would see them match Chelsea’s point total. No pressure.
The rest of our schedule in the league sees us squaring off with Watford at home, flanked by our Europa League ties with Eintracht Frankfurt, then Leicester at the King Power Stadium on the final day of the season.
The good-ish news is that Arsenal’s away form in 2019 has been about as bad as ours, and two of their last three are away from Emirates Stadium. They’re headed to Leicester this weekend, then a home match with Brighton flanked by their Europa League ties with Valencia, then finishing their season at Turf Moor and Burnley.
You’d have to be very brave to bet on how any of this is going to play out. Beating Burnley at home would have provided some cushion but that didn’t happen. Arsenal beating Wolves would’ve done the same for them. Neither happened, and so with the wobbly form both teams are in, plus decently tricky fixtures and Europa League matches, the race for top-4 is going to require a lot of antacid.
But take a moment to replenish your joy by considering the gift that is Arsenal in April. They had the better chances to end all of this. They instead lost to Everton, squeaked by Watford who gave them their lone goal and an extra man advantage in the first 11 minutes, lost to Palace at home 3-2, then followed it up with today’s 3-1 loss. As tumultuous as Chelsea’s season has been — Sarri sacked on a near bi-weekly basis, confoundingly sporadic form, and now injuries — Arsenal’s meltdown has been that much more spectacular.
Thank them. Celebrate them. Take the time to laugh at a rival bumbling this severely. Never mind our squad’s inability to capitalize, that’s beside the point. Our striker is balding and runs like a Scooby Doo character. We shouldn’t really be here but we are, thanks to them. Don’t let this exfoliant go to waste.