The exclusion of Chelsea from this season’s UEFA Champions League could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as the competition at the top of the Premier league table is quite intense.
The Premier League has evolved into a division unlike any other. It’s arguably the most competitive league in world football judging by the strength of the teams regularly vying for the title.
This term, there are six teams capable of clinching the title based on their resources and playing personnel. The likes of Manchester City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea have an equal chance of getting their hands on the trophy.
The Blues are most notably the only team without European commitments amongst the leading title contenders.
The UCL and Europa League have their financial perks, but they also tend to take a toll on teams vying for domestic titles.
At some point in every season fatigue sets in, and clubs are forced to set competition priorities that often reflect on the squad selection for various competitions and domestic leagues.
With Chelsea challenging on three fronts this season (EPL, EFL Cup, and the FA Cup), Antonio Conte will be able to make the Premier League the club’s sole focus.
The other two English Cup competitions will most likely see Chelsea field youth players and weak teams against the smaller sides. However, we can expect to see some first team stars take to the pitch if Chelsea progresses further enough.
Manchester City, Spurs, and Arsenal are all involved in this term’s Champions League; United similarly have Europa commitments.
At some point, it’s only logical to expect the North London sides to get knocked out of Europe’s elite club competition (probably in the latter stages) City, on the other hand, could go all the way.
All three teams are likely to reach the quarter-final stage and by then the Premier League season would’ve begun to unfold.
United will be keen on winning the Europa League to secure automatic qualification to the UCL next season. While it’s highly likely that either team will secure the Europa crown, it will, in turn, be detrimental to their respective league campaigns.
The Europa League has some decent sides on display this season which will force Mourinho to field first team players in a bid to secure victories against the competition’s big teams.
Being the only team that can make the Premier League their primary focus, it’s fair to say that Chelsea has a great chance of winning it compared to the rest of the top six.
The top seeds for the title have already experienced spells of inconsistency in the League – Chelsea appears to have overcome theirs as they came out guns blazing against Leicester on Saturday in a game they won 3-0.
Costa is back to his best, so is Eden Hazard, Fabregas, Courtois and Azpilicueta. With Antonio Conte at the helm and the Blues able to keep their players fit and level headed for the title race (thanks to their lack of European football), the London outfit will be right up there when the season draws to a close.