Michael Ballack: Chelsea will need to be much more focused at Old Trafford

Michael expects Arsenal to miss out on the Champions League next year
Michael expects Arsenal to miss out on the Champions League next year
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Betfair Ambassador Michael Ballack gives his verdict on the first Monday night game in Bundesliga history as well as Chelsea's upcoming clash with Man Utd...

"I think Arsenal, in sixth, are out of the running already. As for Chelsea, I was a bit shocked by the scorelines and nature of their losses to Watford and Bournemouth in recent weeks."

Protests understandable but a solution must be found

Tennis balls and toilet paper were not the headline grabbers we expected from the first official Monday night game in Bundesliga history. I liked it, the fans got the opportunity and space for an understandable, organised official protest just before kick-off.

We Germans are a little more tied to our traditions than in other countries but we are seeing the difficulties in trying to maintain them while making commercial advances. At first glance, it looks like a case of crossed wires. The DFL were trying to give the five teams in the Europa League an extra day of rest due to the Thursday night European games. That is an understandable and fair call to make.

But I do see the fans perspective on this. For all the good it does the club, a Monday night game is a mini-disaster, especially for away fans. The truth is somewhere in the middle, as it often is and good communication between clubs, fans and the DFL will be the basis of finding a solution that works for everyone.

North Derby a must-win for HSV

The last few days at HSV have been even less peaceful. Before their massive north derby with Werder Bremen I was thinking of how we can bolster the HSV fans and get them excited for the clash. Lest we forget, less than ten years ago, these teams met in the semi-final of the Europa League.

Werder are a team with great quality up front that can really impose themselves on a game and that is paying off for them this season as their squad has plenty of attacking options. But to be honest, it is not looking good for HSV.

There are no players due back from injury who can give the team a boost and they have already sacked the manager. A lot of things will have to happen for HSV to turn their situation around. The future will be looking decidedly dark for HSV if they lose this emotional derby.

Chelsea need to focus on task at hand

On the surface, the Premier League table is looking a lot like the Bundesliga at the moment. Manchester City are having an extraordinary season and have surged into a 16 point lead. But there is more to this picture than the table would suggest.

Man City have not dominated the Premier League over the past five years in the same way that Bayern have in the Bundesliga. Ahead of the big matches between Manchester United and Chelsea, the race for the three remaining Champions League spots is getting very interesting.

One of the big teams has to miss out, with Spurs currently in fifth looking up. I think Arsenal, in sixth, are out of the running already. As for Chelsea, I was a bit shocked by the scorelines and nature of their losses to Watford and Bournemouth in recent weeks.

The team just wasn't clicking. They will need to be much more focused when they get to Old Trafford if they want to get a result and boost their top four chances. Obviously, I hope that they will be in the Champions League next year. So if the top four stays the same until the end of the season, I would be happy with that.

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