Defeat to Newcastle last night looks to have ended Chelsea’s hopes of a top four finish, but this could help them in their quest for Champions League glory, which they are 17/10 to achieve.
Roberto Di Matteo rested players ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, which looks as though it will be a sign of things to come once the Wembley final has taken place.
Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Didier Drogba were amongst the Blues’ most notable absentees, with each expected to feature from the off against Liverpool at the weekend.
Chelsea’s run to the final of two cup competitions is sure to take its toll, so the break Di Matteo afforded some players could prove invaluable, and may work in a similar effect ahead of their Munich final later in the month.
The Blues have a host of players banned for that European outing, including captain John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles, so these should be expected to partake in remaining league fixtures.
Fringe members of the squad should also get the chance to prove themselves in remaining domestic games, with final starting berths sure to be up for grabs amidst so many suspensions.
Whilst not mathematically impossible for the Blues to achieve a top four finish, it certainly looks unlikely, and it could prove more worthy to invest in Champions League success this season as a means of qualification for next year’s competition.
Rarely in recent times have Chelsea had the luxury to be able to rotate their squad so late in the season, but Di Matteo will be less hesitant to do so this year given their league standing.
The availability of players such as Terry and Ramires will also encourage Di Matteo to make changes, as he can still select strong sides whilst preserving many players who will kick off the final on May 19.