Last weekend’s disappointing FA Cup semi-final defeat will be all but forgotten if we avoid defeat in this game. A draw or better and we will be crowned Champions of England for the second successive year, and become the first London club to win back-to-back Premiership titles.
Of course Manchester United won’t want to be part of our title-winning celebrations and will do all in their power to prolong the inevitable. With two games still left to play after today, and just a single point needed to make it mathematically impossible for United to win the title, we can afford to lose.
Not that Jose Mourinho will be entertaining such a thought. It is over two years since we last lost at Stamford Bridge, a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on the 21st February 2004. Forty-three games later and we have a record of 35 wins and 8 draws, and have scored 91 goals in the process.
Combine that with United’s away record this season — 12 wins, 35 goals scored, the best in the Premiership — and desire to extend the title race just that little bit longer, and it has all the makings of a classic.
Mourinho has no injury concerns. Eidur Gudjohnsen returns to the squad after missing the FA Cup semi-final through illness, while Petr Cech is likely to return in goal in place of Carlo Cudicini. Maniche is available for selection after serving a three-match ban for a red card picked up during the home win over West Ham.
Prediction: If Mourinho chooses to play to our strengths — flying wingers in a 4-3-3 formation — then there’s no reason why we cannot win. If he decides to field a line-up similar to the one he put out in the first half of last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final — Joe Cole, Damien Duff, Arjen Robben and Shaun Wright-Phillips left out — then I can see us losing.
But in all seriousness, the chances are that Mourinho will set out to earn the draw required to retain the title. 1-1… and a weekend spent celebrating.
- Captain looks to Bridge factor to see Blues home
- Kenyon criticises rivals’ lack of focus
- Domestic bliss suits Terry if not the Roman empire
Chelsea 3 – 0 Manchester United · Update
Now that is how you win the title.
I’ve already imbibed a few too many celebratory beers, and I’m going to have a lot more. Don’t expect updates until tomorrow [Sunday] at the earliest.
See Gallas, Joe Cole and Carvalho’s goals here (downloadable zip files), and read Jonathan’s match report here.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!
Match reports: BBC Sport; Sky Sports; ESPNSoccernet; Official Chelsea FC Website; The Observer; Sunday Telegraph; Independent on Sunday; Daily Telegraph; The Times; The Guardian; The Independent.
- Reaction: This is special club says Special One
- ‘Sad’ Mourinho: I nearly walked away
- Chelsea’s winning season
- Chelsea’s tactical shift
- Mourinho joy at title win
- Champions – and having a laugh!
- Terry: No way I was coming off
- Blues revel in title celebrations
- Just like old times in this brave new world
- Mourinho in bid for acceptance
- Juventus move tempts Gallas
- Rivals downgraded to distant also-rans in merciless title defence
- Mourinho offers England help by resting key men
- Bubbly loses some of its fizz
- Rooney injury cuts across club rivalries
- Understudies hope to land leading role in World Cup cast
- Graphic: The Champions’ Statistics
- Reaction: Cole – Favourite goal, magic day
- Reaction: Lampard – Home record the key
- Robben denies Chelsea exit report