Liverpool are on a collision course with Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round, while holders Manchester City will travel to Sheffield Wednesday following Monday’s draw.
The facts and figures have been pouring out since Roberto Di Matteo was sacked as Chelsea manager on Wednesday night Australian time.
Eight managers in nine years – the same number as Chelsea had in their first 75 years – six of whom have shared in a total of AU$57 million in payouts following their firing.
While these figures serve to reinforce the shock of sacking a manager who just six months ago was in charge when Chelsea won the Champions League for the first time in their history, ultimately they are distractions.
Here are some other figures:
One Champions League title and another final, three Premier League titles and four times runners-up plus four FA Cups.
That’s Chelsea’s honour roll since trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003. Not bad for an owner who is almost universally criticised for a habit of losing patience with his managerial choices.
Compare the record at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United across the same period:
One Champions League title, two other finals, four Premier League titles and one FA Cup.
The stability United have enjoyed by having Sir Alex Ferguson in charge throughout the Abramovich era at Chelsea hasn’t made the drastic difference those calling for stability for stability’s sake at Stamford Bridge might imagine.
As brutal as it was, the real mistake wasn’t Abramovich sacking Di Matteo, but actually giving a contract to a manger in the first place.
Ever since it became clear the Italian manager was just a back-up to the Chelsea owner’s determined courting of Pep Guardiola, Di Matteo’s tenure was destined to end in acrimony.
So what next for Chelsea?
Well, another short-term appointment isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Pep Guardiola only needed one season to win the treble, Antonio Conte took Juve from mid-table to undefeated champions of Italy in the same amount of time and of course there is Di Matteo’s European success last season after replacing Andre Villas Boas just a few months earlier.
Di Matteo aside, the key factor with Guardiola and Conte was these tacticians were two thoroughly considered hirings whom had the complete backing of those in charge at their clubs.
Over the last five years Roman Abramovich has rarely shown that kind of faith in any of his appointments.
Still, in terms of silverware it hasn’t worked too badly for Chelsea thus far.