Jose Mourinho remains guarded on Chelsea’s chances of winning the title this season despite his side putting themselves in pole position with Saturday’s resounding 4-0 victory in the London derby against Tottenham.
Chelsea (the “little horse” in the title race, apparently) are perched firmly at the top of the pile and have the unquestionable advantage of having points on the board over Manchester City’s three games in hand. Should City win all three, the two contenders will be level on points, though Manuel Pellegrini’s men already have far superior goal difference.
Mourinho was caught out in a secret recording last month where he lamented his lack of options upfront and insisted Chelsea’s lack of world class strikers – particularly in comparison to City – will cost them the title. ‘Old man’ Samuel Eto’o proved his worth by opening the scoring against Spurs and mocked his Portuguese boss’s comments with what has become an infamous goal celebration – leaning over and pretending to hold a walking stick.
The Special One has admitted, at the very least, that Chelsea are guaranteed a top four spot, but he is still looking backwards rather than forwards, insisting their next target is to secure a place in the top three and with it, automatic qualification for the Champions League. Arsenal and Liverpool are also still in with a chance but both face gruelling fixtures, while the Gunners have an FA Cup semi-final, and possibly a final to concentrate on.
Chelsea’s main advantage over City lies in their fixture list. City have an unenviable pile-up as they are still clinging onto their place in Europe and must complete their three games in hand. The prospect of the Manchester derby is also looming, although it is admittedly a far less daunting one than it used to be. Chelsea, on the other hand, will face Arsenal but apart from that, seven of their last nine Premier League games will be against teams in the bottom half. Mourinho’s astonishing home record will surely be another factor to take into account.
The Chelsea gaffer is something of an expert when it comes to mind games, but his managerial counterparts must be facing up to the worst case scenario that this is not Chelsea at their best. They will have the summer to strengthen, but even before then Mourinho looks set to celebrate his return to English football in style.
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