Why Chelsea dropping into the Conference League will cause chaos in their early-season schedule.

Chelsea will face one of the busiest seasons they have experienced next term after dropping into the Conference League.

The Blues had seemed set to compete in the Europa League – the competition they won in both 2013 and 2019 – following a good run of form at the end of the season before Mauricio Pochettino’s departure.

But Manchester United’s FA Cup win over rivals Manchester City means the Red Devils, who finished eighth, will instead play in the competition, with Chelsea dropping down, and Newcastle falling out of European competition altogether.

The next person to take over at Chelsea will face a major challenge to ensure the Blues’ progress continues, but they will be tasked with a mammoth number of games to manage throughout the campaign.

Depending on how far they go in cup competitions, the club could rack up as many as 74 matches next term, which means they could be playing for 330 days out of the 365-day calendar year.

Cheslea's early-season schedule will be hectic after they dropped into the Conference League

Not included in that figure is pre-season games, which will see Chelsea travel to the United States again for five matches.

The currently-managerless Blues will face Wrexham, Celtic, Club America, Manchester City and Real Madrid in the States between July 24 and August 6, before flying back for the start of the Premier League on the weekend of August 17 and 18.

They will then have to play a play-off round to reach the group stage of the Conference League, with those games to take place on August 22 and August 29 – matches they would not have had to play had they been in the Europa League instead.

Should they progress through the group stage and into the knockout round, they may have to play a knockout play-off to reach the round of 16.

In total, should they reach the final in Poland, they may have to play 17 games in the Conference League.

If they are to reach the final of the Carabao Cup, they will have played six games in the competition, with a potential six more games coming in the FA Cup.

A further seven games could come from the Club World Cup next summer, which will run from June 15 to July 13 and feature 32 teams, including 12 from Europe with Chelsea having already qualified.

That means the club could be playing competitive football from the start of the Premier League season until the end of the Club World Cup, which will total 330 days, or 10 months and 27 days, or 47 weeks and one day.

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