In just under a week, Chelsea the current European Champions will fly to Monaco to face the Europa League Champions, Atletico Madrid, with both teams having to take time out of a full list of fixtures to do so. The fixtures that would have fallen the weekend of the Super Cup have to be rearranged for both teams with Chelsea forced to play the middle of this week for the game against Reading.
Whilst a midweek game is not really a big game changer for clubs, the fact that Chelsea have to fly to Monaco for a fixture many some deem to be pointless is something that concerns many at the club. Whilst Uefa may bill the fixture as somewhat of an honour it is not exactly deemed to be so by the majority of people in the game – Jose Mourinho left both Porto and Inter before the Super Cups were played following winning the Champions League at both – for a man who is so set on collecting sets of trophies he calls himself the Only One, it speaks volumes about how the match is viewed.
Of course the governing bodies in football bill the match as the best against the best and a showpiece of the ‘beautiful game’ and for us mere mortals to discount the value of the game would show exactly how little we really understand about the sport – mind you we are the little people who have been advocating for goal line technology for years whilst the big guns drag their heels, but then again what do we know?
Imagine if one of Chelsea’s players were to get injured during the game or a serious incident was to occur – you couldn’t really blame either manager if they decided to play less than what we would see as their first team. Chelsea have to face Newcastle this weekend before the Super Cup on Friday evening and then have an international break before their next fixture on the 15th of September.
It is pretty clear which of those games both Chelsea and Atletico would want to win – their league games are paramount, and having to rearrange fixtures to fit in with the Super Cup is not exactly what either club really want. In addition to the Super Cup, Chelsea have also had to rearrange their fixture against Southampton because of the World Club Championship in the not exactly next door Japan – again not exactly a trophy that will take pride of place in their hefty trophy cabinet and one which will fall just as the Champions League is hotting up to boot.
After going back to the summit of the Premier League for the first time in a very long time, Chelsea are getting a taste of being winners again and will not want excessive and unnecessary traveling getting in the way. Despite the fixtures being re arranged, they still have to play extra games and their already full schedule just expands even further.
Uefa may feel that such competitions add to the value of the game – and they do – by lining their pockets. For the clubs involved it is not exactly their highlight of the season and is quite frankly viewed as an unnecessary bother and one a club wishes they were not a part of.