In some respects, it was bound to happen.
With Manchester United’s form in the last 3 years, it’s asking too much for them to mount a serious challenge for the Premiership this late in the season – even if we had defeated Sunderland, you still wouldn’t bet against Chelsea taking home the title again.
The Chelsea vs Manchester United game is still four days away (Saturday 29th), but since the draw against Sunderland the Man U contingent has been relatively quiet. Defeating Chelsea will not change much, although completing a league double against the soon-to-be champs will give other teams a clear signal that Chelsea is not the unstoppable force / immovable object that they would like everybody to believe they are (we don’t think that of course – we know we can beat them any day).
It’s not all quiet on the Chelsea front, though. Smarting from the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool (where Mourinho and his men were beaten fairly, horror!), Chelsea are looking to make sure that they finish their season in style. So much so, in fact, that they are baiting Man Utd already, albeit with their own brand of class.
Manchester United and Alex Ferguson don’t need me to defend their honour nor do they need me to set the record straight – but I do want to point out a trend I’ve seen in the Premiership recently:
In the last 4 seasons (including 2005-2006) 3 different teams have won the Premier League (with Chelsea on course to win it a second time this season) – and two of those teams have come off as arrogant and (we Man Utd peeps have always been arrogant, so that doesn’t really count) and pompous. Come on – one good season and you’re the best in the world? Buy your way to the top of the league (if anyone has forgotten, Chelsea came second in 2004 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League that year as well – incidentally, the first year of Roman Abramovich at the club). Granted that both teams have extremely talented players, but neither side had done anything to deserve the respect they seem to expect.
Makelele’s outburst (and recent posts covering Arsenal and Chelsea on SoccerLens) are a clear indication of that.
The worst part about losing to Chelsea or Arsenal is not the loss itself; there is little shame in being beaten by a team that played better than you on the day. The amount of gloating that comes with such results (we are not blameless either, but how often has Ferguson talked about going through the season unbeaten or called himself the special one?), on the other hand, is insufferable.
For that reason, more than any other (the Premiership’s lost for this year), I want to see Chelsea lose on Saturday. After that, they’re welcome to their second League title.
They’ve deserved it.