Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has spent most of the season downplaying his team’s chances of winning the English Premier League title. One good result this weekend and he may have to revise his opinion.
With Liverpool inactive and fellow title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City in FA Cup action, Chelsea can extend its lead in the Premier League to seven points by beating Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. City’s focus will be on defeating second-tier club Wigan in the FA Cup quarterfinals in a repeat of last year’s final. The other big last-eight match is Arsenal vs. Everton.
Mourinho has labeled Chelsea the “little horse” in the title race, perceiving his squad to be full of young talent with little championship-winning experience. Unbeaten in 13 league matches since the start of December, the team is looking more and more like a thoroughbred.
Boasting the league’s tightest defense, the Blues haven’t been hindered by a shortage of goals from their strikers as at least one of their slew of attacking midfielders, be it Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian or Andre Schuerrle, seems to deliver when it matters. Defeating Tottenham would put Chelsea nine points clear of Man City, considered by many to be the other title favorite, although City would have three games in hand.
A bridge too far
Spurs have a dreadful record at Stamford Bridge — they haven’t won there since 1990, when Gary Lineker was their match-winner — and Mourinho still has never lost a league match at the ground. Twenty four years have passed and 15 managers have come and gone at the north London club since Tottenham last won at Chelsea — a miserable sequence that even the most optimistic Spurs fans would struggle to believe will end on Saturday. Tim Sherwood’s side have picked up 29 points on the road this season, winning nine games out of 14. Chelsea have been strong at home, though, winning 12 and drawing two as Mourinho’s incredible statistic of never having lost a league game at Stamford Bridge rolls on.
West Bromwich Albion claimed its first league win at Old Trafford in 35 years by beating Manchester United 2-1 in September, one of a string of poor results for the champions this season. Another defeat to West Brom, this time on Saturday at The Hawthorns, would surely end United’s faint hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League. David Moyes’ side heads into the game 12 points behind fourth-place Man City, having played a game more. And its last match was a 2-0 loss to Olympiakos in the Champions League, earning the team widespread criticism.
Arsenal’s last hope
The FA Cup looks to be Arsenal’s best chance of ending a nine-year wait for silverware. A 1-0 continued…