They’ve looked out of the title race on several occasions this season and it’s clear that nobody outside of Stamford Bridge has any love for the club. However, Chelsea can only be ignored at their peril after moving to within three points of Manchester United this weekend. Like many of their performances this season, the 2-0 victory at Eastlands was far from pretty, yet this is a Blues team who gets the job done in these sort of matches.
Indeed, manager Avram Grant must be rueing the fact that they have such an inferior goal difference to the champions at this juncture, essentially meaning they have to better United’s results by four points in the next five games. Nevertheless, the Israeli manager seems confident according to the Daily Telegraph.
“We know we could finish with 89 points and still not win the championship,” Grant said. “But you can never tell in football. Whoever thought, back in September, that Arsenal and Liverpool would be behind us now? So anything can happen.” With United visiting Chelsea in a possible decider on April 26, did he detect any vulnerability in Cristiano Ronaldo and company? “I have to believe that’s the case. Otherwise there’s no point in playing.”
Chelsea have three home matches remaining, including the visit of Man United on 26th April. It’s clear that they’ll need to win this match if they’re to stand any chance of winning the title. That game aside, they should make short work of Wigan and Bolton at home, although trips to Everton and Newcastle require a similarly professional performance to Saturday’s if they are to finish on top.
For United, the next three mathes are crucial, with Arsenal the visitors on Sunday, followed by a trip to Blackburn and then the vital clash at the Bridge. With Vidic out injured and Ferdinand doubtful for the weekend, are the champions starting to stutter at the wrong time?