Eden Hazard has said Chelsea’s “quiet” push for a top-four finish could help the team qualify for the Champions League ahead of their rivals.
Chelsea went level on points with Arsenal by beating Brighton 3-0 on Wednesday night but remain outside the top four on goal difference.
How did Chelsea’s top-four challenge go “quiet”? Five key things to know…
- Chelsea started the season strongly and looked equipped to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title.
- They have since fallen away from the leading pack and have been in and out of the top four for the majority of the campaign.
- A string of poor results saw Maurizio Sarri’s job security called into the question earlier this year but results have recently picked up.
- The Blues are outside the top four only on goal difference and Hazard believes being fifth is lowering expectations and helping the team.
- Chelsea still have to play Liverpool and Manchester United in what could be decisive fixtures.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have won four of their last six league games including a victory over Tottenham Hotspur, a run of form which has seen them close the gap on third-placed Spurs to just one point.
But Hazard thinks Chelsea being outside of the Champions League places is actually helping the team’s quest for a top-four finish.
“People are not talking about Chelsea for the top four and I like that,” Hazard said, according to the Guardian.
“We are quiet, in fifth or sixth, and then we can just be ready for the next game. We want to go game after game. We have hard matches coming up against Liverpool and Manchester United, but Chelsea is a top club.
“We like this challenge so we will go to these teams and try to win because, at the end, we want top four.”
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‘Tottenham’s new stadium can’t match Chelsea’s trophies’
Chelsea will be aiming to finish above London rivals Tottenham in order to seal a place in next season’s Champions League.
Spurs have finished higher than Chelsea in the table in two of the last three seasons prior to this term, but the Blues beat Mauricio Pochettino’s men to the title in 2016/17.
And Hazard insists Chelsea’s multiple trophy wins in recent years trumps the progress Tottenham have made during that time.
He added: “I think Tottenham, for two or three years, have been one of the best teams in England. That is for sure. I don’t like that, to be fair – we are Chelsea, and it is a big derby against them – but we have to accept it.
“For the Premier League it is good: a new stadium, they have top players. But, in the end, you know at Chelsea we have won a lot of trophies, and they have not. So I hope this continues.”