Chelsea back in top four, but Super League drama overshadows Brighton draw
- Updated: April 21, 2021
LONDON: Chelsea moved into the Premier League’s top four after a 0-0 draw against Brighton on Tuesday (Apr 20), but the result was completely overshadowed by the club’s role in derailing the controversial European Super League.
Just before kick-off at Stamford Bridge, it was widely reported that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had decided to withdraw from the controversial breakaway plan.
While there was no official confirmation from the club, the Blues are understood to be preparing documents to formally quit the tournament.
Manchester City became the first team to officially pull out, with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid also reportedly set to withdraw.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan are the remaining founder members of a Super League that now looks certain to crumble before a match is ever played.
Against that dramatic backdrop, Chelsea produced a flat performance, although the draw saw Thomas Tuchel’s side move into fourth place above West Ham on goal difference.
“We talk of nothing else but Super League before the match. I was affected so I think the players were affected,” Tuchel said.
“The situation was not clear. I was informed like you were informed. You have to accept the distraction.
“We tried to create an atmosphere to win the game but could not. We looked mentally tired.”
Chelsea visit West Ham on Saturday in a crucial clash in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Just hours before kick-off, it seems Chelsea would not have to worry about qualifying for Europe thanks to their invitation to the closed-door Super League.
But after resounding condemnation from across the political and sporting spectrum, Chelsea are set to walk away.
Abramovich and chairman Bruce Buck reportedly feared staying in the Super League would seriously damage Chelsea’s reputation, therefore undermining their anti-semitism campaigning and community work.
While Stamford Bridge remained empty due to the coronavirus pandemic, around 1,000 fans had staged an angry protest before news of the Super League meltdown broke.
The cheers when Chelsea’s imminent exit became public knowledge were as loud as any that greeted goals from the Blues when they fans were last allowed into the stadium.