Nigeria forward Victor Moses and his Chelsea teammates will on Sunday hope to upset fourth-placed Liverpool for a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League as they tackle Newcastle in one of the last matches of the English Premier League season.
Fifth-placed Chelsea are two points behind Liverpool, who are on 72 points. The Reds host Brighton in their final match of the season.
To qualify for the Champions League, the Blues need to win at Newcastle while hoping that Liverpool lose at Anfield. A draw for Liverpool will dent Chelsea’s qualification to the elite European club competition as they have a +42 goals difference to Chelsea’s +27.
After four successive victories, including a crucial 1-0 win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town on Wednesday took the qualification battle between the two English sides.
Against Huddersfield, Chelsea dominated the game with 78 per cent of the possession. They had 22 attempts compared to just three for Huddersfield. The Blues will rely on the strength of Moses and his teammates to win at Newcastle.
Chelsea’s unexpected slip at home to Huddersfield eased the tension at Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp’s side must still avoid defeat to Brighton to be certain of a place in the Champions League next season. However, a victory in the Champions League final on May 26 in Kiev will guarantee a place in next season’s competition.
With Moses playing a pivotal role in Chelsea’s last three matches, the club’s fans are of mixed opinion ontheir chances of beating Newcastle at St James’ Park.
One of the fans Ebuka Michael told our correspondent on Friday that Moses can replicate his performance against Liverpool to help Chelsea secure a win.
“Moses is a powerful runner and his runs caused problems for Liverpool in our 1-0 win last week. I believe he can do that again against Newcastle.
“But if we don’t qualify for the Champions League, I believe the FA Cup will be enough consolation for us and a good way to end the season.”
But another fan Tunde Adeleye believes Chelsea should focus on the FA Cup final against Manchester United on May 19.
“Moses has been in good form in our last four games and it is exciting to see in such a form ahead of the World Cup. But on the fight for Champions League qualification, I believe that we will only pick a draw against Newcastle because we haven’t won there in a while,” he said.
“I would not want them to exert too much energy on the Newcastle match and get our key players injured. I believe the FA Cup final next week is more important so that we will end the season with a trophy.”
Also, former Super Eagles midfielder Friday Ekpo said the competition in the EPL would be a benefit to the Eagles as Moses’ current form would be needed at the World Cup.
He said, “I like that there is a keen competition for qualification for the Champions League because the coaches would field their best players – one of whom is Moses for Chelsea.
“Any of the two clubs can clinch the final qualification spot and it will take the determination of the players to get the job done. However, I believe that the competition is good for Moses because he is in such form at a time when the World Cup is closing in on us. He is an important player for the Eagles and we can only hope the form remains and he is free from injury.”