Same old title race – Can United make it 4 in a row?
In past seasons there’s always been a two-horse race for the Premier League title. This year will not be any different either. It could have been Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Unfortunately, the Gunners have once again crumbled like a home-baked cookie under the intense pressure of the title race.
Squeaky Bum Time
The ‘Squeaky Bum Time’ has once again come upon us. The infamous phrase coined by Sir Alex Ferguson is used annually, whenever Manchester United are closing in on another league trophy. Can the Red Devils again prevail in the tense, final stages of this league? History suggests they will. Can they achieve the unachievable and record their fourth straight succesive league title?
It won’t be easy, that’s for sure. This Chelsea side is the strongest since the class of 05. That was when Jose Mourinho had breathed new life into the club, and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had poured millions upon millions. Didier Drogba and John Terry have been stand out performers and expect that to carry on even though the latter is experiencing some tough times at the moment. Certainly they are much bigger fish than Liverpool were last year.
This is a Manchester United blog so I won’t go on about Chelsea forever. Man Utd have finally hit some form, largely thanks to Wayne Rooney who net his 21st goal of the season against Portsmouth on Saturday. Worth mentioning that United had beaten them 5-0. All of a sudden, United are favorites to land yet another league coup. That after a slow start to the season where many had written them off. Who will reign as champions this time around? It’s all about the run-in…
The Run-In and the European Hangover
Getting as many points from the last five games will be vital for both teams. Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s run-in will be difficult. Chelsea have the tough task of finding three points away to both Liverpool and Tottenham. However, you expect nine points against Stoke, Wigan and Bolton. 15 points from these five games is definitely possible.
The Red Devils have a tricky encounter against Manchester City which will be anything but easy. Home games to Tottenham and Stoke will be tough but United should expect nothing less than three points. Away trips to Sunderland and Blackburn are games you also expect Man Utd to win but it should be stressed that it will not easy, still 15 from a possible 15 is highly likely.
What I haven’t but should mention is the game before this ‘five game run-in’. It is none other than a tie between the two teams. It is far too early to talk about a game that’s taking place in April but when both teams met earlier on this season, you’d argue that Manchester United were the better side who had lost thanks to a bad refereeing decision.
Something which managers and the media talk about a lot during an average season is the European hangover. If Chelsea and United were to make it to the last eight of the Champions League, then the league match between the two would be sandwiched between the first leg and the second. How’s that for a Euro hangover? After the second leg, Chelsea face Bolton at Stamford Bridge (easy) while United travel to Blackburn (not so easy). If Chelsea were to progress into the semis, the game after each leg would be Stoke and then Liverpool, their penultimate game of the season. United will face Spurs then Stoke if they were to make the semi finals. Tough games, you would agree after a long European night, eh?
Even though United have a slightly easier end to the season, it depends on which team can handle the pressure. The crunch game, on either the 3rd or 4th of April is sure to be the title decider. Whoever wins that, win the league. I think Manchester Utd can, but that’s just being biased. You decide. Can Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win their fourth successive crown? Again, you decide.