Priorities: Top 4, Fa Cup, Europa League

Many Chelsea fans on Twitter were shocked by the XI we started with against United. Some complained about the double pivot, but the majority of the concern was with the absence of Eden Hazard and John Terry. John Terry is our Captain, our Leader and our Legend and seeing him on the bench over and over again is a bit worrying for us and him. Eden Hazard is our big summer signing who’s been crucial in many matches and is rated as one of the best players in the world at his age. However, I believe the Board have instructed Rafael Benitez to carefully select his lineup and to focus on a top 4 finish more than anything.

I think the Board has ranked it like so :

  1. League – top 4 finish
  2. FA Cup
  3. Europa League

This was all clearly evident in the lineups this past week. I’ll show you how they looked.

West Bromwich Albion – League


Azpilicueta Ivanovic David Luiz Cole

Ramires Lampard

Mata Oscar Hazard


Steaua Bucharest – Europa League


Ivanovic Luiz Terry Bertrand

Lampard Mikel

Oscar Hazard Benayoun


Manchester United – FA Cup : 


Azpilicueta David Luiz Cahill Cole

Lampard Ramires

Oscar Mata Moses


The XI that started against West Brom is the strongest lineup, XI v United is 2nd and lastly, XI v Steaua. We’ve seemed to prioritize our season just like under Di Matteo when he was an interim. We focused on the cup competitions over the League and we succeeded. We won the FA Cup and Champions League and completely wasted the last 2 months in the league. That’s the priorities from last season and this season it’s the reverse. The League is now more important than the cup competitions. Our XI against Steaua was one of the weakest I’ve seen in years and the lineup used against Manchester City, Arsenal, WBA and the latest league matches have all been some of the strongest available. Even in the FA Cup, we fielded relatively weak squads and against Middlesbrough, we played the youngster Ake. I doubt Rafael Benitez would ever do that in the League (bar final day depending on importance).

For me, the League and a top 4 finish is the top priority no questions asked. The FA Cup will give us Europa League football and so will the Europa League itself considering we win one or the other, but a top 4 finish would give us Champions League football and given our experiences with the Europa League compared to the Champions League, I think the choice is obvious. A top 4 finish must be achieved or else we’ll settle with a different manager than what we’d get if we finished in the top 4. Roman Abrahmovich and the Board are reported to have made 2 lists – managers that would come if we get CL and managers that would come if we don’t. The latter had the names of Zola, Poyet, etc. while the first list had Mourinho, Pelligrini, Conte, Klopp, Capello, etc. The name difference is evident and it just shows what Chelsea could become. A top 4 finish is needed and has to be achieved or else, we face a tough next few seasons.

  1. thespecial1 says

    Mikel-Ramires is our strongest pivot…Lampard-Ramires is just a mess and should never happen again. We need Mikel in the pivot no matter what and Ramires is the best one to compliment him.

  2. YinXun Tan says

    If Chelsea fans are actually fine with Benitez, I’d like Benitez to stay. Despite his nasty comments, I’ve always liked him since he coached L’pool. Like his style and his tactics. Can be a brilliant coach if given time and of course, support. But sadly, there won’t be any use of signing him if the fans themselves can’t support him. It’ll ruin the club. Personally, I’d like him to be our long term manager.

    P.S. I’m a true blue and I know i’ll get lots of bad comments on my opinion. You can’t deny though, that Benitez is 1 of the best coaches you can get in this footballing world now.

    Thanks and KTBFFH !

    1. thespecial1 says

      How is he one of the best coaches you can get in this footballing world now? Please tell me how you came to that conclusion. Since he took over Chelsea we have been playing horribly. Losing to West Ham, Newcastle, QPR, Steaua etc. Our form has dipped dramatically and when he took over we were not far off from City and Utd. We are now so far behind it’s unthinkable. He has the WORST record of ALL Chelsea managers that have had as much time as he has at the helm. He ran Inter Milan into the ground and he has done the same with us. He was successful in the past with his titles won at Liverpool and Valencia but that is in the past. He has shown NOTHING in the present to show that he is anywhere near being a world class manager. His tactics have been awful, his substitutions have been mind boggling, his rotation is laughable. His “nasty” comments are not the issue here, it’s the results that are the problem and he has simply not cut it.

      1. YinXun Tan says

        Maybe if he was given proper support in the 1st place, he would have got us better results. But was he? He clearly proved it by having an incredible away form compared to our home form. Beating Leeds 5-1, Everton 2-1, Southampton 5-1 and even Stoke City 4-0(not many teams score 4 in Britannia) in the beginning. But why does he screw up at home against QPR, Swansea and even wasting a 2-0 lead to draw, against Southampton in the Bridge? It has undoubtedly been the home fans who give him so much unnecessary pressure. When we’ve been playing away, he must’ve felt much comfortable without dealing with the whining fans. I’m not going to mention about his brilliant managing career in Valencia and L’pool, because we all know about it. After given some, at least some, decent support, he managed the team well against MU in Old Trafford. His 2nd half subs were really clever and it did changed the game. So you can’t actually blame him for screwing up initially, because fans like never supported him in the 1st place. Would like to hear from you…

  3. shiloh says

    i have been enjoying the post(s) put up here but i beg to disagree with this one, how can you say the board has pirorize what they want from Rafa just because of the team selection over three matches. I say your wrong, you fail to note that this team has palyed more matches this season than any other European club, thus fixtures conjestion and fatigue is considered by the manager when selection a starting IX for any given match

    1. Vaibhav Kumble says

      I had said this at the beginning of the season that this year is our transition period.. READ “TRANSITION”… the only expectation I had from Chelsea this season was a top 4 priority.. and we are on course for that.. every thing else was a bonus.. but obviously our boards without balls have no sense and start sacking as per Roman’s orders.. So keep calm and expect gr8 things next season.. KTBFFH!!!

    2. Ziggy says

      This is an aritcle that makes you think “never thought of that!”

  4. Bitto raphael says

    1st eleven is an important thing in a team mostly top clubs, they know how to position themselve even if the player is absent in his position and DON’T UNDER RATE ANY MATCH AT ALL football has no formula(fa is ours,he did it n we carry it in our champion league guess who REMIREZ with a subling lob over valdez)

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