Will Chelsea Have A Bolton Moment?
Dear readers, try to recall April 28th, 2007. United were three points clear at the top and were due to visit Everton while Chelsea were at home to Bolton at the same time. Both clubs faced awkward games next week: United at Citeh, Chelsea at Arsenal.
The accepted wisdom was that it was a big chance for Chelsea. Everton away is always difficult while their three points were more or less in the bag, according to almost everyone. Our goal difference was way superior but still had to visit Stamford Bridge.
As you all know, United were 2-0 down after 52 minutes while Chelsea lead 2-1 against Bolton and it looked like that a season that promised so much will ultimately fail to deliver the most coveted prize of all. However, things took a vicious twist.
United, aided by a horrendous blunder by Turner and an own goal by Phil Neville, came storming back to record a 4-2 victory as Rooney punished the boo-boys at his old home. Meanwhile, in West London, Kevin Davies nicked a goal as his club nicked a point from Stamford Bridge and Chelsea suddenly stared into the abyss.
United wrapped up the title next week as we beat Manchester City by a Ronaldo penalty and Chelsea were held 1-1 at the Emirates, rendering the so-called title decider next week at Stamford Bridge meaningless.
Fast forward to April 2008. United are three points clear, with a massively superior goal difference and they were playing better football throughout the season than the Blues. However, a visit to Stamford Bridge is yet to come and we have very tricky games until that.
Chelsea fans undoubtedly hoped that we will drop points to Arsenal, with a tricky visit to Ewood Park being on the cards before the clash at Stamford Bridge. However, we won our game, coming from behind, aided by a huge blunder (this time step forward Mr. Gallas) and it's Chelsea's turn to wrap up three points which are more or less taken for granted.
They will also have a tricky game next week at Goodison Park so history has a slim chance of repeating itself. It's very, very unlikely that we will travel to Stamford Bridge as champions: after all, Chelsea would have to lose their next two games for that. But will they drop points against inferior opponents again, at home? Will they then be able to win the infinitely more difficult away game?
I do not hold much hope and I expect them to collect six points this week. However, I will sit down in front of the TV tonight to cheer on Wigan. After all, who knows what might happen? If Kevin Davies was good enough to break their hearts then I may place my hopes on Emile Heskey's shoulders...