Chelsea’s disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield last night was a hammer blow to the Blues hopes of finishing in the top four this season.
Antonio Conte’s side dominated the game from start to finish but fell behind to a controversial Laurent Depoitre goal in the 50th minute. Although the home side did pull a goal back just 10 minutes later they were unable to break down a stubborn Terriers defence and secure all three points.
Conte’s rather bizarre decision to rest his two most in form attackers Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud has come in for some heavy criticism from Chelsea fans.
Most observers concluded that the Italian coaches decision to rotate his squad was down to having an eye on the upcoming FA Cup final, although the 54-year-old denied this in his post match press conference when he said:
“No, absolutely not,”
“I did the rotation also against Burnley. To make rotation, it means playing with players like [Alvaro] Morata, Willian and [Andreas] Christensen, players who usually are in the line-up from the start.
“It’s stupid if we think rotation was a problem. We are Chelsea. We have a big squad and players who can play the whole game, but they must win.
“At Burnley we won the rotation was good. We spent a lot of energy against Liverpool. People said that line-up was not good, but we won. This is football.”
Even if Chelsea win their final Premier League fixture against Newcastle next week they are reliant on Liverpool losing at Anfield to Brighton if they are to finish in the top four and qualify for next seasons Champions League.