At the beginning of the season United were told that we weren’t favourites to win the Premiership, despite winning the league and European Cup the season before. No no, this was going to be Chelsea’s year.
The Guardian had us down for finishing 2nd whilst Chelsea, with their new manager, would finish 1st. At the time, I did point out that no South American World Cup winning manager has ever made a success of a European career in the domestic league, but that seemed to matter little to every one else.
Then we had to endure the criticism aimed at Sir Alex Ferguson after he questioned how much improvement we would see from a team whose best players with 30-years-old. Again, at the time I did point out that there was statistical evidence to support what Ferguson was saying, but that didn’t stop the likes of Rob Harris and John Terry having a pop, with the latter going as far as saying this United team had already peaked.
Nothing has been proven or decided since these remarks at the beginning of the season, but yesterday certainly went some way to supporting United’s argument!
Chelsea’s best players are past their best, like Ferguson said at the start of the season, whilst United’s best players have by and large yet to reach their peak. Whilst yesterday was an all-round poor performance for Chelsea, they couldn’t rely on their best players, their most experienced players, to fight for a result.
Where was Lampard? Drogba? Ballack? Nowhere to be seen. They provided no guidance, no grit, no ability. Have they improved on last year? Course they bloody haven’t, just like Ferguson predicted!
Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo are United’s top two scorers, both of them 23-years-old. Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard are Chelsea’s top two scorers, aged 29 and 30. Where do they go from here? Course, they’re banging in the goals, but rarely against teams in the top half of the table.
All the hype about Chelsea has died a death now. No one has faith in Scolari and following another bad performance against a top side, belief in their team is dwindling also. We’ve considered Chelsea to be our main threat for the past two years, but maybe it really will be Liverpool who finish closest to us this season.