Chelsea were just a little lucky to win their game at Stamford Bridge yesterday against Wigan 2-1, with a stoppage time winner coming from Juan Mata.
Alan Pardew – looking up at Newcastle
And that was an important win, because it keeps the London side in 5th place in the league table, and only 2 points behind Arsenal, who are currently in the Champions League qualifying position of 4th place in the league and play Man City today.
If they don’t finish in the top four, it would be the first time Chelsea have not qualified for the Champions League since Roman Abramovich took over in June of 2003, and has since spent hundreds of millions of pounds on players.
And we’ve noticed Chelsea seem to be making very little progress in meeting the new UEFA Fair Play rules, and balancing their books, because in their last financial year they lost £68M, and £70M the year before that, so they are nowhere near balancing their books.
That’s not good, but at least it’s better than Manchester City who lost £197M in the last financial year, but Newcastle are in good financial shape, losing only £3.9M, and of course we refuse to pay silly money for any of our players.
The conventional wisdom is that the match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Newcastle on May 2nd, will decide which team finishes higher in the league and gets European qualification.
But the Newcastle manager Alan Pardew doesn’t necessarily agree with that, and this is what Alan had to say about how that could be decided:
“The whole period for Chelsea, more so than us, is crucial.” “We can do it without that Chelsea game. I mean, we could lose that game at Stamford Bridge and still finish above them.”
“They have two semi-finals games against Barcelona in the Champions League and Spurs in the FA Cup, and then maybe an FA Cup Final on May 5th, when they are scheduled to play a league game at Liverpool.”
“They’re being pulled in a lot of directions so I don’t think for us, particularly, where we finish will come down to that game between us.” “What happens to us will be down to our own results and, actually, will be about Chelsea’s other results.”
“We’re in the lap of the gods a bit because Chelsea have a big determination on things.”
Newcastle cannot really rely on other teams faltering and in their final six league games they must try to get as many points as possible.
The game tomorrow at home to Bolton is one we should win, especially since Bolton will have only one day rest, after losing 3-0 at home to Fulham yesterday.
But it’s these games that could turn out to be a banana skin for Newcastle, and every single game needs to be taken seriously, and if at all possible, all 3 points taken from the game.
If we can have a good return in the run-in to the season, we may even be able to finish 5th top, and then we wouldn’t have to relay on the exploits of others to get European qualification.
Finishing 4th top is even possible, although much more difficult.