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Why the FA Cup should be our priority this season........


Strike

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Turn the clock back to August 2012 just for a moment. Heading into the new season with 7 trophies to aim for(after the heroics at the end of last season), Chelsea fans around the world were gleefully welcoming the start of the 2012-13 season. With Eden Hazard and Oscar signed and Cavani, Hulk, Falcao etc rumoured to be on the way, you would be forgiven for thinking that the club was on the verge of yet another successful season. However, 6 months into the campaign, the club has turned into a circus, the season is in disarray and the dubious distinction of going trophyless this season is suddenly very much possible.

That brings the FA Cup to the spotlight now. The FA Cup represents a last chance to win something meaningful this season. Yes, that was a dig at the UEFA Europa League which I believe is a grotesque competition filled with a ridiculous number of teams and yes, that was also a dig at our Premier League title hopes under Benitez. The FA Cup has managed to retain its prestige in England and much of it is down to the way it is structured. Over 700 teams spanning the length and breadth of the country take part in the competition giving lower-league teams a chance to rub shoulders with the top teams in the country. Over the years, it has seen some memorable moments leading to the widely used phrase – “The magic of the FA Cup”.

Chelsea’s record in the FA Cup is ridiculously good in the last few years. A freak 1-0 upset at Barnsley and a late Leighton Baines free-kick aside, Chelsea have been unstoppable in the FA Cup in recent seasons. It seems that every year Chelsea would get their act together in time for the FA Cup. Last season’s unforgettable Champions League final may have eclipsed the FA Cup win 2 weeks prior but regardless of the CL win, it was a brilliant Cup run topped off by beating two of our hated rivals – Tottenham (5-1 that too) and Liverpool. Petr Cech’s save from Andy Carroll’s header stands out from last season’s Cup run while it also saw Didier Drogba score the winner in (possibly) his last Wembley appearance.

Now, Rafa Benitez faces an away trip to Griffin Park to face Brentford in the Cup and I believe he must resist the temptation to rest his senior players. Rafa probably learnt a lesson in rotation in the 1-0 loss to QPR AT HOME earlier this month but nonetheless, it is time to take the FA Cup seriously now. When Eden Hazard decided to snub the Manchester clubs to join Chelsea, it was because challenging for trophies was part of Chelsea’s DNA. In the Roman Abramovich era, we have gone trophyless only twice in 2007-08 and 2010-11 (It is worth noting that we were within a penalty kick from Champions League glory in 2008) But all we have done so far this season is find ways to throw away trophies. The Community Shield may have come too soon for the squad but 2 weeks into the season, Chelsea were smashed by a vibrant Atletico team for 4 goals. That’s 2 trophies down the drain by the end of August. Then we managed to get dumped out of the Champions League(3 down) and then passed up the rare opportunity to win the Club World Cup in Japan (4 down). With fading Premier League title hopes (5) and the Carling Cup farce (6) on Wednesday, we have now managed to mess up 6 trophies this season. For a club so used to winning trophies, this season has been a lesson of sorts.

So I circle back to my point. An FA Cup win represents the best possible ending to a nightmare season. It will be a great boost for us in the transfer market (as well as our quest for a new manager). But perhaps, most importantly, an FA Cup win would be the best possible farewell to a certain Chelsea legend. Imagine the ending to last season, except this time it's the FA Cup – “Lampard with the 5th penalty in the shootout and he’s buried it!…..”. Good times :rolleyes:

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Although, I would like to see Chelsea winning FA cup but I also feel the team just do not have enough players to compete in FA, EL or maintain top 3 places in PL, currently.

Therefore, the team´s priority should be to finish as high as possible in PL. Plenty of prise money is offered, this season.

Admittedly, playing in CL next year must be desired.

In the FA & EL starting players should be rested & let others compete in these two competitions.

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I agree that PL Top 4 finish is equally important but we should not 'disregard' the FA Cup. also @bushman, we don't have a deep or good enough backup squad to rest many senior players at once. Remember QPR?

Well then, I would play some reserves from the academy. Anybody, just as long as Mata, Oscar, Ramires, Cahill, Hazard..etc are rested. The team must set their priority on PL, I feel. FA Cup can wait.

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Well then, I would play some reserves from the academy. Anybody, just as long as Mata, Oscar, Ramires, Cahill, Hazard..etc are rested. The team must set their priority on PL, I feel. FA Cup can wait.

One thing to note here is that the best talent from our reserves have all been loaned out.

- Chalobah, Piazon, McEachran, Kakuta, kane, Kalas, Bruma, van Aanholt, along with Lukaku and de Bruyne who are a bit closer to senior level, have all been loaned out. Our academy options are probably limited to Nathan Ake

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One thing to note here is that the best talent from our reserves have all been loaned out.

- Chalobah, Piazon, McEachran, Kakuta, kane, Kalas, Bruma, van Aanholt, along with Lukaku and de Bruyne who are a bit closer to senior level, have all been loaned out. Our academy options are probably limited to Nathan Ake

I realize that but still play anybody. Just now, I read Luiz is out for weeks. JT, Romeu, Mikel, Moses & Hazard are all out too, I might add. So why tire the rest of the squad for FA competition ?

Personally, I would love to get hold of those fucks on the board.

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We have Reading away three days after this game, and then a trip to Newcastle which I'm never all that confident about. Are you saying we shouldn't rest key players (Mata being the prime example) for a game away to Brentford and prioritise the FA Cup over the League??

You said Hazard joined to win trophies. He actually said 'I'm joining the Champions of Europe'. The league is the priority. It has to be.

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I disagree. FA Cup is or it should not be prioritized this season. I would rather see the club finishing in 3rd place. Playing in FA Cup might tire the depleted team & jeopardize their chances to play CL competition next season.

Also, many players will look at Chelsea as a team that plays in CL next season. That brings much better chance to sign these players in the summer.

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As some have mentioned, the league should be the priority first and foremost and then the FA Cup. On the other hand though, even if we try to go for the FA Cup, don't think it will distract or affect us too much in the league since the games are played on a weekend anyway and we'll then just have a few league games here and there in midweek, that's all. If anything, the earlier we exit from the Europa League, the better. Even though I want to see us win that, exiting that competition would mean less fixtures and give the players a bit of breathing space to rest and focus on the league and then FA Cup.

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Well, playing in FA on weekends puts additional pressure on players. I even would prohibit players attending friendly games for their respective national teams for now. If Roman allows the team to board his plane, they should go to some warm place to rest, get away from all UK media, the boo crowd..etc. Just like red nosed had done with his Manure team.

This is the only way to retain their focus on PL games.

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We have Reading away three days after this game, and then a trip to Newcastle which I'm never all that confident about. Are you saying we shouldn't rest key players (Mata being the prime example) for a game away to Brentford and prioritise the FA Cup over the League??

You said Hazard joined to win trophies. He actually said 'I'm joining the Champions of Europe'. The league is the priority. It has to be.

For the Brentford game, I don't think we have much choice other than put up a strong team. But even if we had 17-18 players, i would prefer to put out a strong-ish team simply because we cannot afford to bank on our backup team this year. a few years ago we had experienced backup. leaders among backup. Ballack (rotated), Deco, Joe Cole, etc not youngsters or u-21 players. what we have seen this season is that the squad lacks real leaders. earlier in the season, we had a great start and never recovered after united beat us at the bridge.

consider this. we rest ALL our senior players. then - Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Saville, Ake, Ramires, Bertrand, Oscar, Marin, Torres (or i guess Bamford is better) would be our team. lack of real leaders.

we should put out a strong team while resting few key players. for eg - Bertrand for Cole, Marin for Hazard, Torres for Ba and such. Not academy and reserve players

edit: Hazard literally said - "i am signing for the European champions " but i think its safe to assume he came here expecting to challenge for trophies

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What´s so good about FA trophy for the depleted team at the moment ?

Certainly, Hazard can live without FA Cup, I feel. After all, he is the one that has not helped much by his stupid action the other day.

Think you are blowing things out of proportion a bit. Yes, our squad at the moment is depleted but when everyone is fit and available(which we will get more players back soon), we are capable of dealing with Premier League and FA Cup games.

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Think you are blowing things out of proportion a bit. Yes, our squad at the moment is depleted but when everyone is fit and available(which we will get more players back soon), we are capable of dealing with Premier League and FA Cup games.

I disagree. Currently, the team must gear towards PL games only. There is way too much at stake here. If Rafa concentrate on both competitions, most of the posters here will insult him for not winning. Meanwhile, they are no players on the bench to do it all.

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People have been too unrealistic over this season. This was always going to be a season of transition. I said at the start of the season I'd be happy with 3rd and a domestic trophy of some kind. We're well on track for that. I honestly think we can finish 2nd this season and if we win either the FA Cup or the Europa League we'll have done very well.

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To find someone with such teeny-weeny demands it certainly is a rarity here.

Most posters here, still think Chelsea should go for FA, EL trophies. :cry:

so your logic is we can't handle FA Cup and Premier League together? even last year with the likes of Meireles, Bosingwa, Kalou, Malouda etc we won the FA Cup. And as Jason pointed out, it is held in the weekends, so no midweek schedule plus we don't have the pressure of playing Champions League in midweek as well

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