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Cup Final Redemption?
This may well be sulky Conte's last match in charge, and he has managed to bow out with more silverware. In doing so, Antonio (a self-proclaimed "serial winner") has emulated fellow-countryman Carlo Ancelotti by winning both the Premier League and the FA Cup, albeit not in the same season. This eighth FA Cup triumph (third only behind Arsenic and ManUre) goes some way towards salvaging the wreckage from a car crash season. It's always sweet to get the better of ManUre and especially Mourinho, leaving them empty-handed, but truthfully this was an awful final, even though most Chelsea followers won't be complaining.
An Appropriate Finale
I was rather hoping that Bakayoko, the teacher's pet, would get sent off, thereby ensuring that he would not be available for next week's FA Cup final. Alas no such red card was presented to him, and Chelsea fans will be steeling themselves for the logic-defying omission of Willian next Saturday in favour of the inadequate Bakayoko. Such a selection decision will reveal Conte's overwhelming desire to 'stop United' as opposed to a wish to take the game to them.
Another Impotent Nightmare
The Blues' late-season charge towards an unlikely Champions League spot finally fizzled out at home to lowly Huddersfield Town who deservedly secured Premier League survival, courtesy of a gritty defensive display against one-goal Chelsea. The proceedings perfectly encapsulated Chelsea's inability to create chances and convert the rare ones that they do produce. The team has completely lost the knack of scoring late winners or equalisers when the chips are down. This has been the most frustrating of seasons, as the purgatory of the Europa League beckons for last season's champions. How the mighty have fallen and indeed been washed away.
Blues Defy Hyped Reds
Chelsea have kept alive their slim hopes of qualification for next season's Champions League when they deservedly defeated an impotent Liverfools team. The Blues have now strung together five wins, whilst Liverpoo and Tottenham Trophy Dodgers appear to be doing their level best to drop out of the top four, having shipped several points in recent weeks. The whole drama of the race for a top four finish is further proof that the league is a marathon and not a sprint. Consequently, teams that are sitting pretty at Easter and looking poised for success would do well to nail down their objectives rather than dwell upon probabilities. In the event, Chelsea still need snookers in order to penetrate the top four, but they clearly have the momentum while the two clubs above them are evidently staggering towards next Sunday's chequered flag.
Another Barely Doing Enough, Narrow Win
Within the first five minutes, Cesc Fabregas slotted home a peach of a goal, all too rare in recent months from the Spanish midfield maestro. However this would prove to be the last of the scoring in this contest. Therefore for the second time this season, one-goal Chelsea scraped home against relegation strugglers Swansea City. Peculiarly, if Chelsea finish the season with three more league wins and Liverfools drop points in their final fixture with Brighton and Hove Albion, then the Blues will pip the Reds to a top four position. It's probably what one might call 'needing snookers'. At least Chelsea will definitely finish above Arsenil, which is one crumb of comfort.
A Satisfying Semi Triumph
Securing their third win in eight days (albeit two of them against struggling Southampton), Chelsea just might finish the season with a flourish and even lift more silverware. Antonio Conte and man of the match Eden Hazard certainly seem desperately keen to atone for the final flop last year and potentially end their Chelsea careers on a high. They will have the small matter of a date with sourpuss's Manchester Yawnited in four weeks' time, in what will be the third Wembley final between the two clubs. The recent death of Ray 'Butch' Wilkins will render the occasion all the more poignant, as the midfield maestro played with distinction for both clubs.
Chelsea did just enough to see off the surprisingly feeble challenge from Burnley in this Thursday night non-event, thereby consolidating our likely fifth position finish whilst also finally defeating a team that we have had considerable problems with in the recent past. One could almost have described Burnley as our bogey team, but the way we have been playing since January, everyone has become our bogey team.
Giroud Inspires Late Revival
It looked like another ritual defeat for struggling Chelsea, another bad day at the office for an impotent outfit. Then lo and behold, Monsieur Giroud reminded us why we bothered to buy him in the first place, cementing his reputation as a marvellous impact substitute. The Frenchman has now earned the right to get a starting place in the cup semi final next Sunday against the same opposition. Of course the challenge for Olivier is to play well (score more goals) as a starter. He may have a Tore Andre Flo/David Fairclough knack of scoring goals as a substitute, but can he do likewise as a regular starter?
Awful Finishing Is Simply Unacceptable
What is to be said that has not already been said in the last few months? The champions (they still are!) are impotent and toothless in front of goal. It would be no exaggeration to state that one-goal Chelsea are the worst team in their league at converting chances. Moreover the form since the turn of the year has been little more than that of relegation strugglers. I'm beginning to absolutely loathe this team and its supporters. The latter applaud when yet another effort goes narrowly wide, when there should be howls of derision and zero tolerance of forlorn attacks which lead to attempts that end up in the crowd and not in the net. One-goal Chelsea should never have let goal poacher Batshuayi go on loan and buy ineffective Giroud. I despair of Chelsea football team. I can only hope (or dream) that these overpaid, goal shy Muppets are saving their goals for the FA Cup semi final and final. In the meantime I am hoping that this dreadful team lose next Saturday at Southampton, as it might imperil the Premier League survival of Crystal Palace or toxic West Ham United.
Horrible, Inevitable Result
Well it did have to happen eventually! Oh well. Look out Europa League. Here comes Chelsea. The outgoing champions of England are I'm afraid going into decline. Having climbed to second in the league table before Christmas, Chelsea have been almost in free fall since the turn of the year, both struggling to score and struggling equally to keep clean sheets. With this double whammy, any team is going to be in difficulty - and so it has proved. It's true that the Blues could finish a car crash season with FA Cup glory, but many average teams have won the FA Cup, so any such success would not be an indicator of progress.