Does money protect Roman's Chelsea from Sod's law?

7May 2013

England - Premier League


Chelsea seem to be sailing to a successful end of the season after winning at Old Trafford - but Ralph Ellis wonders if there might yet be a sting in the tail


It all seems very smooth. Rafa Benitez will make sure Chelsea finish in the top four and have a place in the Champions League, while winning the Europa League at the  same time. And then the Special One will regain the throne at Stamford Bridge.


Juan Mata's late winning goal at Old Trafford yesterday was a massive blow to Tottenham in the struggle for a top four finish. And it has put all the momentum behind  Stamford Bridge for the last fascinating fortnight of the season.


But what if? What if Gareth Bale comes up with one of his dazzling nights on Wednesday this week and takes the points for Tottenham. And then what if Christian Benteke  and Gabby Agbonlahor carry on riding the crest of their goalscoring wave at Villa Park on Saturday? And what if Benfica have a golden night in the Europa final , and  then David Moyes rings one last, committed display out of Everton in what might yet turn out to be his farewell game on the final day of the season?


It doesn't take too big a leap and suddenly things aren't so simple.  Chelsea have never been matched at more than odds-on for a top four finish and are down to 1.1 to achieve that now. In fact they are as short as 1.29 for the top three. But does that win at Old Trafford really prove anything about Chelsea's current readiness for three really tough games?


Their recent little run has come against sides with not a lot to play for. Sir Alex Ferguson, with his United team already crowned champions, made some peculiar  changes to his side yesterday. The previous two wins in the League were against Swansea and Fulham who were both already on the beach.


Also, there is no way that tiredness cannot catch up with Chelsea in some shape or form in the next couple of weeks. I saw Bradford boss Phil Parkinson complaining  that his League Two side have had to manage through 65 games with only 19 players, and talking about the comparative luxury enjoyed by the big Premier League clubs to  deal with a similar workload.


But the reality is that Chelsea have worked essentially with just 16 main players. And of those a core of Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard have been in the thick of  everything. Oscar and Hazard have missed just four of Chelsea's 65 games so far, Mata has played in 60. And that is before you add any international commitments. The  Sunday fixture with United gives them less recovery time ahead of the Tottenham game, and they then face Villa who will have had all week to rest, focus and set out  their pattern of play.


Mourinho's return to Chelsea is considered so certain that even his odds to be next Manchester United managerhave slid out. Once backed at 2.2 he is now 7.4 with Moyes the new favourite.


Of course it may well all go to plan. But does being a multi-billionaire like Roman Abramovich protect you from Sod's law which says that 'if a thing can go wrong it  will'? In the next two weeks we'll find out.



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Keywords: money, Chelsea

Source: Betfair

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