Chelsea didn’t get the striker they wanted during the January transfer window but their prospects for the rest of the season still look good.
The Blues are still highly fancied to finish in the top four this season – as the odds on offer via bookmakers.tv show.
Blues boss Frank Lampard expressed concern that his side’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League could be badly affected if he were unable to bring in a forward.
The likes of Paris St-Germain star Edinson Cavani were pursued but in the end Chelsea did not get the signing Lampard suggested was essential.
Even so, Chelsea’s position in the top four is looking strong. They have been heavily reliant on striker Tammy Abraham and other youngsters but Lampard’s inexperienced team have performed well despite the odd hiccup.
Their top-four chances have been boosted largely by their traditional rivals being so poor. Changes of manager at Tottenham and Arsenal haven’t made a radical difference and Manchester United continue to struggle under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United too have problems up front. But whereas Solskjaer has lost Marcus Rashford long-term, Chelsea have been spared bad news on Abraham’s ankle injury, which proved not to be serious.
As for the other contenders for Champions League places, Wolves and Sheffield United have been surprise packages this season but there has to be question marks over both teams’ ability to last the course. So Chelsea’s prospects look good even without the extra striker Lampard wanted.
As well as qualification for next season’s Champions League, there is also the small matter of this season’s tournament – which Chelsea are very much still part of.
Shades of 2012
They face a tough assignment against Bayern Munich, but get past that tie and who knows how far the Blues could go this year.
The Bayern clash will of course bring back memories of Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League triumph against the German side – which Lampard played in and the Blues had a relatively inexperienced manager then as well.
Roberto Di Matteo defied the odds and led Chelsea to European glory. Could Lampard do the same? Don’t rule it out – especially if key players stay fit.
Those key players include Antonio Rudiger, who has made a welcome return to action after being plagued by injury problems during the first half of the season. Chelsea look much better defensively with Rudiger in the team and his presence could make all the difference.