Last weekend after Chelsea vanquished Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield, Jose Mourinho revelled in the fact that his side would have defeated the eventual champions both home and away.
The Portuguese manager dismissed his team’s chances of winning the Premier League title, but claimed that he is proud of the fact that the Blues have got the better of both Liverpool and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge and away from home.
However, the league title is not won based on the results of four matches, and that is where Chelsea have slipped up. Despite being unbeaten against Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, the London outfit have performed poorly against teams that they should have defeated.
Chelsea lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace at a time when the Eagles were fighting against relegation and last month slumped to a surprise 2-1 home loss to Sunderland, a side who are still not certain of their Premier League status for next season.
Then on Sunday the 2012 Champions League winners slipped up against third-from-bottom Norwich City and were held to a goalless draw by the Canaries. Chelsea are still in the title race, but if Manchester City pick up maximum points against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, then Mourinho’s team will be officially out of the running.
Andre Schurrle, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, admits that it was their failure to win against teams in the lower half of the table that derailed their title challenge.
‘We played very well against the big teams, but at home you have to win against sides like Sunderland and Norwich’, The Mirror quotes the 23-year-old Germany international as saying. ‘We didn’t do that and that’s why we won’t win the league this year’.
Why is it that Chelsea could not pick up points against teams that they were expected to beat? Were they complacent? Or did the opposition step up their game because they knew that they had nothing to lose against one of the title contenders?
Answers on a postcard, please.