It’s been a difficult year for Chelsea, but with the FA Cup still to play for, the Blues faithful will be hoping for a reason to cheer to end the campaign.
Antonio Conte’s side take on Southampton on April 22 in the last four of the FA Cup with Man Utd and Tottenham contesting the other semi-final. If Chelsea are to regain that feeling of lofting silverware, here are three key things needed at Stamford Bridge:
A final push for Antonio Conte
The tricky ‘second album’ has materialised for Conte this year. After waltzing to Chelsea’s fifth Premier League title last campaign, the Italian has struggled to galvanise the Blues into a side capable of fighting on all four fronts. Semi-final elimination from the League Cup at the hands of Arsenal was followed by defeat against old foes Barcelona in the Champions League, and with his side slipping out of range of the top four in the league, the FA Cup is now of heightened importance.
Tomorrow’s clash against Southampton acts as a suitable hors d’oeuvre for next Sunday’s FA Cup semi against the Saints at Wembley; Conte will be keen to add a cup success to his resume after several failed attempts in Italy. There has been a look of resignation on the face of the Italian in recent weeks, but with silverware up for grabs as well as redemption for last year’s loss, Chelsea’s doomed coach will be adamant to leave the club on a high as speculation swirls around him on possible successors, as noted by the Metro.
Eden Hazard back to form
Without a goal in his last nine appearances, the Belgian is struggling to convince pundits and fans alike that he really is the second coming of the Ronaldo and Messi era. The 27-year-old can change matches in a heartbeat, however, finding himself playing deeper off a solitary Chelsea striker has left him frustrated in his inability to unlock defences.
He hit a purple patch at the start of 2018, however, his current form has put a serious question mark over his credentials as a future Real Madrid star, despite The Daily Star reporting that interest is ongoing.
Question marks still remain over Hazard’s future; a return to form in the following month would do wonders for Chelsea, Hazard’s future and Belgium’s World Cup hopes.
Chelsea fans staying onside
Boos rang out around Stamford Bridge following last weekend’s dropped points to West Ham. An overreaction, perhaps, but Chelsea fans have been used to success of late – not their side now failing to breach the top four twice in the past three seasons. Two big pushes from the Chelsea faithful could be crucial if there is to be another trophy in the Stamford Bridge cabinet this season.