Chelsea FC: Eyes on the prize

A lackluster performance in the Etihad last weekend means that Chelsea FC has made an early exit from the FA Cup.  Manchester City, coming off a week without any matches, found a way to prevail 2-0 after losing to their London rivals two weeks ago in the Premier League.

Chelsea players and fans are obviously disappointed in the result, but exiting the FA Cup at this time may not have been entirely bad for the club.  The Premier League is quickly escalating towards the final stretch and Champions League action returns next Wednesday when the Blues travel to face Turkish side Galatasary.

Winning the FA Cup is certainly an admirable achievement, but it can also distract a squad from league or European action.  Chelsea is narrowly atop of the Premier League and faces a tough round of 16 opponent in the upcoming weeks.  The last thing the Blues need is a distraction.  An early exit from the FA Cup may have been a blessing in disguise for a team that desperately wants to win it all in England.

Chelsea FC

Frank Lampard (photo credit: hadewallpaper.com)

Arsenal are misfiring and may be on the way towards yet another midseason collapse.  The Gunners face a critical match against Sunderland this week after their exhausting loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Manchester City dropped crucial points against both Chelsea and Norwich City and need to rebound against Stoke City on Saturday.

Liverpool are in fine form right now, but are currently fourth in the league.  A loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup is only going to motivate them in league play.

With the three other teams in the top four all experiencing inconsistency it is crucial for Chelsea to take maximum points this weekend against Everton.  The Blues have not lost to Everton at home in 19 years, and Jose Mourinho intends to keep his unbeaten streak at home alive.

The Blues will be going all out to secure the three points this weekend, but certainly one eye has to already be looking at the Champions League match against Galatasary next Wednesday.  Mourinho will surely field a strong side for both matches, but it will be interesting to see who he rests.

Eden Hazard must feature in the Galatasary match.  His form has been impeccable, and with a hat trick against Newcastle he has brought his league goal tally to 12.  The Belgian attacker is simply unstoppable right now, and on a team that doesn’t have a surefire striker he will have even more responsibility.

Galatasary are currently third in the Turkish domestic league which is not very impressive, but former Blue Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder form an impressive attacking force that can’t be taken lightly.  Either player can score at any moment and change a match’s complexion in one instance.

It is now a balancing act for the Blues between the domestic and European campaigns.  Both are incredibly important for the club, but both can be lost by paying too much attention to the other.  Balancing the two will be much easier without more FA Cup fixtures, and the Blues will look to take advantage of the extra time off to make headway in their remaining two competitions.

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