Chelsea’s spirits and Premiership hopes received a strong boost on Sunday with a convincing performance against a lackluster Manchester City in the English match of the week-end. It was a victory especially relished by Carlo Ancelotti (Milan) against his old rival Roberto Mancini (Inter), one wholly deserved by the Blues against a tired, predictable, unimaginative City that seemed to be playing for one point despite its extensive roster of exorbitant “stars.”
The victory narrowed the gap between Chelsea and Man United to nine points, with a Chelsea game in hand and the teams yet to meet at Old Trafford. Three successive Premiership victories have alleviated the pressure on Ancelotti, who admitted he is very fortunate to still be Chelsea’s manager, but chances are neither Ancelotti, nor Mancini will be at their current posts in the fall. The only possible savior for Ancelotti may be triumph in the Champions League, where incidentally Manchester United stands in the way.
For their part, Man United deservedly squeezed the three points out of Bolton with a later Berbatov winner, while Arsenal fell behind at West Brom and managed to come home with only one point. Spurs, who played West Ham to a scoreless tie, will battle Man City for the fourth and final Champions League spot. Liverpool’s win at Sunderland put them in firm control of the sixth Premiership spot and respectability. At the bottom of the table, no less than ten teams are separated by five points, thus the complexity.
This week-end, Chelsea confirmed that it is not to be counted out just yet. As importantly, while the Blues fans are still waiting for Fernando Torres to arrive, a new crowd favorite has electrified Stamford Bridge. Should Torres, Malouda and Drogba rediscover their scoring touch in time for the critical stretch, there may be one happy oligarch in west London come May.