Following the recent 1-1 draw in the first leg of the League Cup against Liverpool, Chelsea still realistically remain in the hunt for all four trophies this season. An FA Cup fourth round tie against League One side, Bradford City, at Stamford Bridge shouldn’t be a problem for the Blues, and they’re favourites for the Premier League too. It might still be a bit early, but if Chelsea can win their next three games (which, coincidentally, are all at Stamford Bridge), talks about the quadruple will go viral on the internet, no doubt. So, let’s take a look at these three games and assess the chances of Chelsea winning all four trophies this season.
The first game against Bradford City should be a walk in the park for the Londoners; even an under par side would still be too strong for the visitors. As for the League Cup second leg against Liverpool, José Mourinho will field a strong side as he is one of few managers who give this competition the respect it deserves. A win is still on the cards.
The big one is the fixture against Manchester City in the Premier League. A win for Chelsea will see them go eight points clear with fifteen games left; with the way they’re playing, that could be an unassailable lead. The drama of the UEFA Champions League looms too, but we all know that one’s more than just quality and talent; it’s about, desire, magic, and, ultimately, who wants it more. These are traits a motivator like Mourinho can no doubt get out of his players.
Now to the big question: can he lead his boys to the quadruple? Two major reasons outline why I believe there is absolutely no chance of that happening. Firstly, Mourinho has shown an unwillingness to rotate his team, even in games which necessitates this. Playing your best eleven everyday might win you a trophy or two, but it isn’t going to win you everything.
Furthermore, when injuries begin to bite back, the men on the bench wouldn’t be ready (match fitness wise) to take up the gauntlet. A player like Loïc Rémy has been offered far less game time this season than merited, and yet still manages to put up a good show whenever he is called upon, despite rustiness. A few injuries to a few key players, and bang – they could be back to the Stone Age, eliminated from the knock-out competitions and left chasing only the League title.
Secondly, Chelsea still looks one man short at the back. Ignoring the youth players (of whom we know Jose Mourinho will never use at this stage of the season), Chelsea has only six senior defenders vying for four starting slots. Although the versatility of their current crop of defenders is commendable, injuries, suspensions and loss of form could ultimately see them put up a makeshift backline in some crucial games. And as we all know, one positional error, one mistimed tackle, one poor back-pass and you’re out of a competition like the Champions League.
The quality of attacking play we’ve seen from Chelsea this season is right up there with the very best the club has ever produced. Talk about the likes of John Neal’s team of the mid-80s and Claudio Ranieri’s Zola-led team of the late 90s, this team is right up there in attacking brilliance. But, as Mourinho rightly pointed out, it’s the trophies won that great teams are remembered for. This team will win a trophy or two but believe it or not, the quadruple won’t happen, not this year.
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