Recently, the Ligue 1 season ended early amid the coronavirus crisis and Paris Saint-Germain were awarded the league title as they were 12 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand. On the other hand, it has been more than six weeks since a Premier League game was played.
With the COVID-19 outbreak affecting the Premier League, the top four race in the division has come to a halt too. As many as six teams, separated by just eight points, are still very much in the race to secure the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
Chelsea are currently leading the race, with the Blues occupying the fourth spot with 48 points from 29 outings, closely followed by Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal. Even the likes of Burnley, Crystal Palace and Everton have an outside chance of sneaking into the top four.
Much to the delight of the football fans, Premier League authorities are working with the British government for a possible resumption of the league in June.
With that in mind, here are three reasons why Chelsea will seal the fourth spot ahead of their rivals in the Premier League if and when the season resumes:
#1 Return of Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who was sidelined due to an ankle injury, was ruled out until the end of March. However, with the season coming to a halt, Frank Lampard will have the youngster back when the Premier League resumes.
Abraham’s injury was a big blow to Chelsea as they struggled to find reliable options upfront. The 22-year-old was badly missed against Manchester United as the Blues failed to convert their chances in their 2-0 loss against fellow top four hopefuls.
Prior to his injury, Abraham had 13 goals to his name in the Premier League in the present campaign. The striker’s return will be a big boost for both Lampard and Chelsea.
On the other hand, Ruben Loftus-Cheek hasn’t featured for Chelsea since rupturing his Achilles’ tendon last May during a post-season friendly against New England Revolution.
Although the midfielder hasn’t made any first-team appearance for Chelsea this season, he did feature for the developmental side three times. As a result, Chelsea can see Loftus-Cheek back in action when the Premier League resumes. The 24-year-old’s return could be vital for Chelsea, who have struggled to fill the void created by Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid last summer.
#2 Settled midfield combination
Chelsea had their own issues in the midfield with players like Ruben Loftus-Cheek sidelined due to injury and Eden Hazard moving to Real Madrid last summer.
However, in the recent games, Chelsea seem to have found their perfect midfield combination, with players like Willian and Pedro finding their mojo.
While Willian found the back of the net against both Liverpool and Everton in the FA Cup and the Premier League respectively, Pedro also scored once and set up another in the Blues’ 4-0 thumping of the Toffees.
On the other hand, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante can provide additional screening to the defence and play as anchors in the midfield. Kante will be eager to feature in Chelsea’s midfield after missing his side’s last three Premier League games owing to a muscle injury.
In the absence of Loftus-Cheek and Kante, Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour have grabbed their chances with both arms. Gilmour has continued to impress the Stamford Bridge outfit with a string of good performances. The youngster will be eager to keep his place in the Chelsea team once the Premier League season resumes.
#3 Inconsistent opposition
One more reason which could benefit Chelsea in their bid for a top four finish is the inconsistency of their rivals. Several clubs are guilty of failing to seize moments which would have seen them leapfrog the Blues into the fourth spot.
Noticeably, Manchester United have failed to churn out positive results several times when Chelsea themselves dropped points.
Clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have also failed to close the gap by dropping points regularly. As a result, Frank Lampard’s team presently find themselves three points clear in the fourth spot in the Premier League table.
Chelsea still have a few tricky games left in the season but they are in a strong position to seal the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot at the end of the present campaign.
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