The Week In Chelsea: Nothing left to play for...other than dash neighbours title hopes

The Blues' only target this week is to throw a spanner in the works of London rivals Spurs – while their all-conquering youth side wins actual silverware, writes Garry Hayes...

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The week in five words

Roll on, Monday Night Football

What went well…

Chelsea fans and players found themselves in an odd position this weekend. They’ve made it abundantly clear in the past few weeks that they don’t want Tottenham Hotspur to win the Premier League title, but deep down they were probably hoping Leicester City didn’t beat Manchester United, either.

Why? Well, victory on Sunday would have sealed the Foxes the title, although Claudio Ranieri’s men drawing at Old Trafford has instead created the perfect scenario for Chelsea. Now when Spurs rock up at Stamford Bridge for Monday Night Football, it’s Chelsea who can kill off their title hopes.

Anything but a Spurs victory will crown Leicester champions. More importantly for Chelsea fans, anything but a Spurs victory means they will have their bitter rivals in plain view to gloat about it all night long.

When Spurs fluffed their lines against West Bromwich Albion last week, there was every chance this fixture would become an anti-climax. Instead, Leicester’s draw has set things up perfectly.

Now Chelsea’s task is to stop Spurs from doing what they haven’t since 1990 – which is win at Stamford Bridge.

What didn’t What went even better…

Speaking of odd positions, as Chelsea haven’t played this weekend, we’ve been left twiddling our thumbs attempting to think of something to moan about. Rather than nitpicking about what went wrong this week – as we’re custom to do – we’ve decided we’re better off celebrating the achievements of Chelsea’s youth team.

A fortnight ago today, the youngsters were busy retaining the UEFA Youth League. Well, on Wednesday they only went and won a third successive FA Youth Cup to add to their trophy haul. Chelsea defeated Manchester City 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to record a 4-2 aggregate victory.

Not since the Busby Babes has a club managed to win three Youth Cups in a row, with Chelsea now lifting the trophy five times in the past seven seasons.

It’s an impressive achievement and given how underwhelming the first team has been this season, has given the club something to shout about.

Don’t fret too much, though; we’re sure there’s a prima donna lurking in the Chelsea dressing room somewhere to ensure normal service is resumed next week.

Quote of the week 

“My first group I was in charge of as a coach, I took the Under-8s. Tammy Abraham, Ruben Sammut and Fikayo Tomori were part of that group. Josh Grant, Mason Mount and Nathan Baxter followed the year after.”

Chelsea youth team coach Joe Edwards spoke to FFT after watching his side win the FA Youth Cup, revealing how six of those who featured in the final have come through the ranks over the past decade alongside him. Remarkable.

Video/GIF of the week

The Chelsea Fans Channel on YouTube has taken great pride in pranking some of their rivals in the past. Last season they headed over to the Emirates Stadium where they covered the Arsenal sign outside to make it read 'Chelsea' instead. Well, ahead of Monday’s London derby with Spurs, they were back at it again…

Winner of the week

While we were waiting for some match action, Pedro planted himself at the heart of the conversation this week. First it was Eden Hazard echoing the sentiments of Chelsea supporters by declaring a dislike of Spurs. Then Pedro got in on the act.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Spaniard said he couldn’t bare to be part of the Chelsea team that loses at home to Spurs for the first time since 1990.

 “Is it another incentive that beating Spurs will stop them winning the League? Yes,” he stated.

After a disappointing debut campaign at Chelsea, that one quote has endeared Pedro to all at Stamford Bridge.

Loser of the week

From celebrating the youth team, we’re going against the grain by outing Dominic Solanke for his ludicrous demands he’s reportedly put to Chelsea in his on-going contract negotiations.

Solanke – currently on loan at Vitesse Arnhem – has one year left on his current deal at Stamford Bridge and according the Daily Telegraph is demanding a cool £50,000 per week to stay, along with guarantees on his first-team status.

All this from a player who is still a teenager and has played just 17 minutes of first-team football for the club.

Had Solanke not been on loan this season, he would have been playing in the FA Youth Cup final. He remains a raw talent and needs to be working more on his game than his bank balance.

We think a reality check is in order.

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