Conte Fuming With Fixture Fixers
Following the the weekend`s victory over West Brom, the Champions League is back, and next up for the Blues is the long trip to Azerbaijan to play Qarabag.
The 5,000 mile round trip has left Antonio Conte furious that Chelsea have been disadvantaged with the fixture ahead of next Saturday`s trip to Anfield.
Liverpool are also in European action and travel to Spain to play Seville, a total of 2,200 miles. Where the fixture scheduling comes to Liverpool`s aid and to Chelsea`s hinderance is in that Liverpool play on Tuesday, whereas Chelsea play Wednesday, giving the Reds more than 24 hours recovery time.
Speaking ahead of the game, Conte was clearly not a happy man,
'We are going to play Qarabağ on Wednesday, and then we go back to London at five or six o`clock. But we have another great game against Liverpool on Saturday. Is it normal, this? I don`t think so.`
`If someone wants more balance in this league I think they must pay greater attention before to prepare the fixtures.`
It`s a good point, the Chelsea game against the Azerbaijanis, has increased significance following a poor performance in Italy against Roma. You could argue that`s Chelsea`s problem, and they could have helped themselves with better performances against the Italians.
At the Bridge the game ended 3-3, and over in Rome, Chelsea lost 3-0. If nothing else, a better result in either game would have enabled Conte to rest players with the Liverpool fixture in mind.
As it is, the game is now a must win. Chelsea beat Qarabag 6-0 in the home leg, but the Azerbaijanis have since grabbed two draws against Atletico Madrid. With Roma now heading the group, they travel to Madrid, the reverse fixture ended in a 0-0 draw.
From Chelsea`s point of view, victory on Wednesday evening will see them qualify for the knockout phase of the competition. Unusually though, the game kicks-off at 5pm UK time.