In truly heartbreaking fashion, Zlatan Ibhrahimovic scored in the second half to knock the defending English Champions Chelsea FC out of the Champions League. Chelsea now languish in 10th place in the Premier League with 40 points, ten points adrift of 4th placed Manchester City who also have a game in hand.
Chelsea?s season was in serious jeopardy under Jose Mourinho when the champions of England were in touching distance of the relegation zone even after 15 games into the season. Then, in truly dramatic manner, Mourinho?s second run was brought to a close and Guus Hiddink was bought in to steady the ship. The Dutch manager has managed to remain unbeaten in the Premier League and get the club in contention of climbing into the top 6. However, top 4 and next season?s Champions league now seems fairly impossible to achieve. And that is a big blow for a club with big aspirations like Chelsea. According to the DailyMail, Chelsea is set to lose around 40m if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. Now, 40 million is not spare change, no, not even for cash-strapped oil barons like Roman Abhramovic. So where do Chelsea go now?
The only way Chelsea can salvage some kind of respect this season is in the FA Cup. The Londoners face an inconsistent Everton on March 12 for progress into the Semi-Finals of the competition. But winning the FA Cup is not a priority for a superclub like Chelsea, and anything less than attaining a spot in the Champions League is an abject failure. You can blame the players, who have really failed to turn up when it was most needed, or you can blame Mourinho?s toxic management. The truth is that just when Chelsea thought the rebuilding phase of the club was nearing completion, the innards of the machine have imploded and how!
Now, Chelsea are in a mighty scramble for their future. The signings this season have failed terribly and without the lure of the Champions League next season, star players of Europe will look for brighter pastures. But there?s more misery coming for Chelsea after the season ends and the transfer window opens. Eden Hazard, the player of the year last season, has looked incredibly de-motivated and mediocre this season. The Belgian has somehow still not scored in the Premier League. He is now being linked to clubs like PSG and Real Madrid. If he does decide to move, Chelsea are going to have a hard time signing a star as massive as Eden Hazard.
Chelsea have 12 games (if they reach the finals of the FA Cup) in their hand to turn this season around. They have to be nothing short of impressive to salvage this season or stars might just start to leave, knocking the club back into the much dreaded rebuilding phase.