Chelsea will make the long trip to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon as they hope to gatecrash the top-four on the final day of the Premier League season.
The task is simple for the London club, win at St James’ Park and hope fourth-placed Liverpool lose at home to Chris Hughton’s Brighton.
Regardless of what happens at Anfield, all Chelsea can do is pick up a win and give their fans something to cheer about. Here are the five things to watch out for at the weekend:
#1 Confidence needed ahead of FA Cup final
Following their draw against Huddersfield on Wednesday night, the mood at Stamford Bridge, at this moment in time, is a little low. However, the Chelsea players cannot afford to take that into their final game of the season, else it might affect them when they play Manchester United in the FA Cup final next Saturday. Regardless of whether Chelsea miss out on Champions League football or not, Antonio Conte needs to keep the spirits high ahead of that trip to Wembley.
#2 Hazard and Giroud to start?
Conte opted to rest Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud in midweek, with Alvaro Morata starting up front and Pedro operating on the left-wing. Both individuals had a poor match, with Giroud coming off the bench to play a big part in Chelsea’s equaliser. It is highly likely that Conte will bring back two of his in-form attackers at the weekend as the away side push for an unlikely Champions League finish.
#3 Extra attacker?
On Wednesday night, Chelsea found it very difficult to break down a Huddersfield team that was fighting for their Premier League survival. Newcastle are already safe but under the stewardship of Rafa Benitez, they will be very difficult to beat. Therefore, could Conte be opted to throw in an extra attacker from the get-go, i.e. playing Morata alongside Giroud upfront?
#4 Liverpool result
Even though many Chelsea supporters expect Liverpool to beat Brighton comfortably eyes will still be on Anfield in the hope that the Seagulls can produce an upset. One positive Chelsea fans can take is that the Reds have won only one of their last five matches in all competitions conceding nine goals. Not forgetting, they have a Champions League final coming up at the end of the month, so some player’s maybe fearful of getting injured. Nonetheless, a bit of luck will be needed for those in blue.
#5 Last game for senior duo?
As the final weekend of the 2017/18 Premier League season draws to a close it could also see the end of Benitez’ reign at Newcastle and Conte’s at Chelsea. Both managers’ futures are uncertain with Conte looking the most likely guy to depart. The Italian’s reign at Stamford Bridge could end up with his side finishing outside of the top-four places with no trophies to their name. Compare that to the team up North and the picture is slightly different. Benitez has done a wonderful job in keeping the Magpies in the Premier League following their promotion last season. However, a lack of uncertainty and backing at boardroom level could see the Spaniard depart.