Chelsea's players and supporters will have undoubtedly witnessed the Champions League group stage get underway with more than a tinge of regret. The glamour, prestige and history of the competition surpasses any other in club football and missing out on it will be painful.
But while the Europa League might be the poor relation, there are three reasons why participation can have its benefits for Chelsea this season.
There will be vital game time for fringe players
Fixture congestion is usually one...