• Dan Tracey


After victory on Tuesday, it is advantage Chelsea in the race for the Champions League places and with a trip to Aston Villa now on the horizon, Thomas Tuchel and his players know exactly what they must do.

To secure a top four finish, they are a number of permutations available and the first of those is relatively simple. Win at Villa Park and Chelsea will have purchased a Champions League qualification policy for next season.

While if they fail to pick up maximum points against Dean Smith’s men, this is where it gets rather interesting and if they draw, they will have to hope that results go their way at both the King Power and Anfield.

Of course, if they were to suffer a defeat on the final day of the campaign, this where it will get rather tense for this season’s F.A. Cup finalists and at that point, they will be hoping for at least one major slipup elsewhere.

Which means everyone will be asking if Chelsea have the aptitude to get themselves over the line and after earning a form of Wembley revenge earlier in the week, they are at least in a position to put pressure on the other two teams involved.

Not only that, but if the Blues can end the season with a win here and in Portugal next week, it would also give them a perfect platform to build on and one that could generate a genuine title tilt next time around.

Of course, that is the objective for another time and if the West London outfit look too far ahead of themselves there is a danger that they may be caught out by Villa – especially as the West Midlands outfit got the better of Tottenham on Wednesday.

Although a top half finish has eluded the Birmingham based outfit this season, it is certainly a marked improvement on the survival that they clinched on the last day of the previous league campaign.

While one wonders just how far up the table they would be if they had the services of Jack Grealish for a whole season and it is no coincidence that the club’s stuttering form has been largely linked to his injury.

Come full time and whatever the result, the rumour mill will once again start to generate and whether it involves a rumour linking the 25-year-old to a move elsewhere, is something that remains to be seen.

At the same time, after steering well clear of the relegation zone, the 1982 European Cup winners do not need to sell their crown jewel and although suitors may circle over the summer, they may not necessarily be vultures at the same time.

Then again, transfer talk can wait for at least a week or so, as we have Premier League matters to wrap up and with Chelsea seemingly back in the groove, they will look to wrap up third place this Sunday afternoon.

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