This weekend the newly crowned Premier League champions take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have little to play for other than pride after clinching the league last weekend, but they do have an unbeaten home record this season to maintain. Plus, as we know, there’s no love lost in clashes between these two sides.
Jose Mourinho already said his side will not be taking things easy in the last few weeks, as it would be an insult to the competitiveness of the Premier League. Don’t expect to see 11 changes and threats of fines from the league, it’s likely that much of the same team that has played all season will feature in the last three fixtures.
We know that Mourinho isn’t a great loser, so it’s no shock that he’s sending his side out to win in their last three. If there was a Champions League semi or FA Cup final ahead maybe it would be a different story, but instead the players are currently basking in the glow of a title win. Having been by far the best team in the league, the title is more than deserved, but given those performances, maybe a little bit of rest is deserved too.
Former Chelsea player and current BBC pundit Pat Nevin argued that the likes of Oscar, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa should be left out of the last three matches to give them a longer break ahead of the new season. While the tiredness of footballers isn’t going to make your heart bleed, we have to remember that these are top class, international players. Their summer breaks between seasons are often taken up by tournaments, so they rarely get extended breaks.
With another title challenge expected next year, plus improvement in the Champions League and FA Cup, those three will all play a key role in the club’s fortunes next term. While Mourinho will be looking to name a strong side, resting those three should be on his mind, as the effects of fatigue have definitely affected them in the run-in.
A game against a side like Liverpool has to be taken seriously, however, with the Reds still holding a faint chance of making the top four this season. With the Blues already unbeaten home and away against their top four rivals, they’ll want to continue that against Brendan Rodgers’ side, following up on their 2-1 win at Anfield earlier in the season.
Liverpool will be naming a strong side, although they’ll be seriously worried about how their goalscoring problems will affect them against the side with the best defence in the league. It’s hard to see the Reds being able to make much of an impact in this one, and this game should spell the end of their Champions League ambitions. This won’t be the day that Chelsea celebrate lifting the trophy, that will be saved for the final day, but it is another chance for the fans to celebrate this season, against a set of fans who are desperate for a league title.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-0