Premier League week 26

Manchester United dominated Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and gets back in the race for Champions League. In the wake of the Manchester City ban from all European competitions for the next two seasons, the 5th place will also be awarded a Champions League this year. 

Currently sitting at 4th with 41 points, Chelsea has seen its lead shrinking week after week. The Blues are holding on to a single point over 5th place Tottenham Hotspur (40 points) followed by the surprise Sheffield United at 6th (39 points) and Manchester United at 7th (38 points). With still 12 games to played in the Premier League the last two spots are wide-opened and guarantee us a thrilling last stretch over the season.

Chelsea in a slope

Frank Lampard’s team has won only 1 out of their last 5 games and has shown clear offensive deficiencies. The injury to top scorer Abraham has a daunting task for the coach looking for solutions: 

“I don’t like the way we’re losing games, stated the coach. Particularly at home we’re losing games where we’ve had a big share of possession, big chances, lots of shots, and we’re not finishing them.

It’s a reality that’s getting clearer all the time. We’re not getting enough goals from striker areas, we’re not getting enough goals from wide areas. Not many teams can keep clean sheets week in, week out. You have to score goals to give you a feeling of superiority in the game.

We make a lot of chances, as many as any team in the league barring Liverpool, and we’re not finishing them. Lampard continued: “We start a lot of games very well. I can hardly ever look at the team and go ‘we started slow, bit sloppy today’. But if you don’t score you leave teams in the game.

United still believe

On the other end of the spectrum, Manchester United believes again in their chances to make into the Champions League next year. They are not playing exceptional football but they are slowly closing the gap in he top 4 race. And with City out of Europe for the next 2 years, they want to represent the city of Manchester as best as possible:

“We kept another clean sheet, that’s four on the bounce now, noted the coach. We’re getting better defensively and [we scored] two very good goals. I’m very happy with the goals. I think we were a bit leggy. Sometimes it takes time to blow the cobwebs off. The players had a week off and we trained for a week. We were better in the second half, in the legs, in the first half I thought we looked cumbersome.

It gives us confidence and it gives us a chance. It’s going to be a tight race; we’re not going to get help from anyone because we played tonight and we’ve already got a game on Thursday night [in the Europa League]. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why we didn’t play on Saturday. We’ll just have to dust ourselves off and get going again, and recover as quick as we can.”