Chelsea v Manchester United

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.

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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.

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