Liverpool’s loss to Manchester United was followed by an Arsenal triumph over Chelsea in the later of the ‘Big Four’ match-ups, which means the Reds are now 10 points behind the Gunners in the Premier League standings. That chasm may be too wide to overcome at this point, especially with Liverpool’s American owners baulking at acquiring new players in the January transfer window.
Chelsea are in no great shape either, six points in arrears of their London rivals – but they can take solace from the fact that they played quite well on Sunday. With Didier Drogba and John Terry on the pitch for the duration of the game, things surely would been different.
The lone goal at Emirates was the fault of one man and one man only (that would be the goalkeeper, Peter Cech) but Terry’s presence in central defence would have perhaps created more room for Cech to make the play. Chelsea’s pressure in the final quarter-hour was particularly impressive and the visitors had several chances to equalise, with Andriy Shevchenko’s free header probably the best of the lot. But Arsenal were also unlucky to not get a second goal; Robin van Persie had one nullified by a questionable offside call and Cech made a few point-blank saves a few minutes from time.
Point is, is it premature to dismiss Chelsea from the title race? And is this the end for Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League? Should Rafael Benitez’s team set its sights on European glory once more? How much longer will this even be Rafa’s team?
Or was it just another pair of matches in a long, long season?