Bengaluru, April 9: Winning the FA Cup will not be enough to save the season for Chelsea, defender Cesar Azpilicueta has said. The defender's comments came after Chelsea's 1-1 draw with West Ham United, a result that ruined their chances of making the top-four and sealing a Champions League spot.
Chelsea's season is turning out to be a disaster. The Blues are now placed fifth on the Premier League table with 57 points in 32 matches, 10 adrift of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. With only six games to go, Chelsea's hopes of securing a Champions League berth for next season is diminishing by the day.
"We're further away than ever. The FA Cup is a massive trophy with a lot of history but it's not enough for us," the 28-year-old Spanish defender told BBC Match of the Day. "We will try to win it but the Cup will not save our season."
7 - Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata have combined for seven goals in the Premier League this season; no other teammate duo have combined for more (joint-high with Salah-Firmino and Salah-Mane). Compañeros. pic.twitter.com/4GBbs4fuqx— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 8, 2018
Azpilicueta scored his third goal for Chelsea against fellow London club West Ham. However, Javier Hernandez (Chicarito) equalised for David Moyes' side and denied three points for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea face Southampton next week in a two-legged semi-final of the FA Cup. Although they have a fair chance of winning the FA Cup this season, it might not be enough to salvage what has been a poor season for the Blues.
Even if Chelsea win the FA Cup, seeing them absent from the UEFA Champions League next season is definitely an odd prospect.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is set to be sacked at the end of the season. Club owner Roman Abramovich will bring in a manager who can guarantee Chelsea a spot in the Champions League, but that will only be in the 2019-20 season.
The club's hopes of European football vanished after a disappointing 1-3 loss to Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago. Dele Alli's double after being dropped from the England squad for the recent international break sunk Conte's chances of making the top-four.
It's not straightforward in the FA Cup too. With Southampton fighting relegation, Chelsea can scrape past them on April 22. However, the final would be against either Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur. Given United were 2-1 winners the last time these sides met in February, even that will be a daunting task for Conte's men.