Why Chelsea drawing at Middlesbrough is the worst possible result

16:23 25 February 2013

Chelsea mangaer Rafael Benitez. Picture: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire.

Chelsea mangaer Rafael Benitez. Picture: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire.

PA Wire

Chelsea risk being plunged into a nightmare run of four games in eight days if they draw their FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Yesterday’s defeat to Manchester City has left Blues’ interim boss Rafael Benitez facing a scrap to secure a top-four berth, with Tottenham and Arsenal both capable of nudging Chelsea out.

Yet their hopes of silverware rest on the FA Cup and Europa League.

Benitez has already spoken about the tough run of matches his side have been facing, which has already involved a bit of juggling as their FA Cup fourth round replay with Brentford needed to be played on fifth round weekend.

As the FA have ordered all quarter-final matches to take place on the planned weekend, it means the Middlesbrough tie must be decided in time for the winners to take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 10.

As Chelsea face a trip to Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League on March 7, the only available date for any replay with Middlesbrough is next Monday, March 4, just two days after a Premier League encounter with West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

Clearly, such a congested schedule would have a negative on Chelsea’s trophy hopes, and probably would not do much for their Premier League aspirations either.

Yet even if they manage to get past Middlesbrough this week without the need for a second game, there is still the possibility for a fixture pile up later on.

With no midweek dates available for teams involved in European competition prior to the FA Cup semi-final weekend of April 13 and 14, the FA are investigating the potential for playing a quarter-final replay involving Manchester United or Chelsea - should one be required - on a weekend, only three of which are available.

In all probability, March 16 or 17 would be ruled out because of policing and ticketing issues, whilst March 31 follows immediately after the international break.

That would leave April 6, which for Chelsea would mean the postponement of a home game with Sunderland.

Of more significance, it would mean the Manchester derby, currently pencilled in for Old Trafford on Monday, April 8 but set to be moved to April 6 if United make it past Real Madrid to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, being re-arranged.

Although somewhat complicated, such a scenario might actually appeal to Sir Alex Ferguson as, if United are still in the Champions League, they would go into the Manchester City encounter at a significant disadvantage given Roberto Mancini has a completely free week to prepare for a game that, in all probability, his side have to win if they are to retain their title.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Chelsea news

Friday, May 20, 2016
Arsenal's Theo Walcott gestures to the fans (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Our season review continues with a look at the five players who went backwards this season.

Friday, May 20, 2016
The England team poses ahead of kick off. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate felt his side applied themselves well in challenging conditions as they opened their 2016 Toulon Tournament campaign with a 1-0 win over Portugal.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Tottenham's Erik Lamela (left) and Arsenal's Hector Bellerin battle for the ball during the 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane in March

We continue our season review with a look at the five most improved players in London in 2015/16.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Radamel Falcao of Chelsea looks despondent (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

With a lot of comings and goings in London, we pinpoint the five biggest transfer flops of this season.

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur and Diego Costa of Chelsea battle for the ball (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Which players made the biggest impact after moving to the capital this past season?

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport