Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Roma could have serious repercussions for their entire season, in both the Premier League and Champions League.
As millions of children and adults alike were enjoying a spot of trick or treating, Chelsea were enduring a Halloween nightmare on Antonio Conte’s first return Italy since taking over a third Stamford Bridge.
The defeat on Tuesday in the Italian capital capped a dreadful Champions League double header for the English champions. Having led in the home game against Roma two weeks ago, the Blues quickly found themselves 3-2 down and had to rely on a late equaliser at Stamford Bridge to stay top of their group.
However, fast forward to this weeks encounter in Rome, and Antonio Conte’s men had no reply to the brilliance of the Italian side, succumbing to a 3-0 defeat in the Stadio Olimpico.
As a result on its own, it’s pretty bad, but the consequences of it could be more frightening than Halloween itself.
The potential repercussions
The result leaves Chelsea in second place in Group C on seven points, one behind Roma who now top the group. Behind them are Atletico Madrid on three points, having failed to win any of their opening four games so far this season. The group is propped up by Qarabag who grabbed an impressive point at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Tuesday.
Both Chelsea and Roma’s remaining two games are against the groups bottom sides, with Chelsea hoping that the Serie A club falter to prevent their season turning into a disaster.
If Roma do not falter, they will win the group, meaning Chelsea should finish in second place, and setting themselves up with a tie against one of the Champions League group winners.
Currently, after four games, the group leaders are, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Besiktas and Tottenham.
Chelsea could potentially be drawn against PSG, Barcelona or Besiktas.
However, with clubs not able to draw teams from their own country in the round of 16, or against the winners of their own group, the opposition that they will face if they finish second in the group is frightening.
The very worse case scenario
The worst case scenario for the Blues is that they slip up in one, or even both of their remaining group games and are overhauled by Atletico Madrid, thus making the dreaded drop into the Europa League.
For this to happen, Atletico would have to beat both Chelsea and Roma, and Chelsea to fail to beat Qarabag in Azerbaijan in November. It’s not against the realms of possibility following their impressive displays so far in the group.
The Europa League, while only being two extra fixtures is notoriously a difficult competition to win, as Manchester United will openly admit. The added games, and the usually longer travelling times, combined together with the reality of playing Thursday and Sunday, make life in the Premier League extremely tough.
A potential Europa League campaign could seriously hamper Antonio Conte’s already fading title hopes further, and could leave them struggling to make the the top four.
Failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish or winning the Europa League, like Manchester United did, could have severe repercussions on their squad also next summer. The likes of Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata, Thibaut Courtois and N’Golo Kante would be highly sought after commodities, and try to force their way out of the club.
Chelsea will no doubt be hoping for their Roman conquerors to slip up to prevent their Halloween hell, turning into a long term nightmare.
Do you think Chelsea will win their Champions League group? Who would be the best draw in the next round? Will they be caught by Atletico Madrid and drop into the Europa League? Leave us your comments below.