One of the most painful moments as a United fan was that 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea won back to back titles under Jose Mourinho. United were played off the park and Chelsea didn’t even really look as though they were trying.
United fans had been spoilt with success, becoming accustomed to winning the title at least every other season. That day marked the third year we’d gone without winning the Premiership and things weren’t looking good. Rooney was injured, Ruud van Nistelrooy was on his way out, and there seemed no way back when it came to competing with Chelsea.
A few months later and things had gone from bad to worse. Ronaldo was a hate figure in the country and was likely to leave us for Real Madrid, after it was reported Rooney and Ronaldo would not play together following the events of the World Cup. Ruud had been sold and the only player signed was Michael Carrick Carrick. Surely Rooney, injury prone Saha, a recovering Solskjaer and Alan Smith who was still carrying his injury, could not lead United to victory against Chelsea? They had just signed one of the best players in the World for each position they required. Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack, and Andrei Shevchenko all made their way to Chelsea and we looked to be well and truly fucked.
Throughout this period of time, life was frustrating for United fans. Everything just seemed so unjust and when we voiced our negative opinions about Chelsea, we were told either that we were just jealous, or that United had been doing the same for years. It was infuriating. No denying United have been spending big money for years, but that is big money we have brought to the club with our style of football, our history and our success. It was money we had a rightful claim to and for fans to be comparing our money spending with Chelsea’s left me incredulous.
I was positive it all had to come crumbling down for Chelsea at some point, but despite my desperate hopes, it didn’t appear as though it was going to be any time soon. They were like a machine. Whilst not too kind on the eye, they were efficient, strong and confident, and the rest of the Premiership were terrified of them. As soon as Chelsea scored a goal, more often than not their opposition rolled over, too fearful to even give it a go. Chelsea steam rolled their way to both titles, with weak competition from Arsenal, Liverpool and United.
We all know what happened next though, United won the title despite being written off entirely, and Jose Mourinho was put in his place by Sir Alex Ferguson. A few months in to the following season, Mourinho loses his job, which seemed to confirm the title for United, despite their poor start. Surely Arsenal weren’t going to carry on their position in the league for much longer and Chelsea would be toothless without Mourinho.
Their first game under new management, the unknown Avram Grant, was at Old Trafford, where they were totally outplayed by United. With not a single shot on goal in the 90 period, Chelsea were fortunate the eventual scoreline was only 2-0.
However, things haven’t gone entirely to plan for United fans since then. Arsenal have continued on with their great form, still holding top spot in the table, and Chelsea haven’t fallen away like we predicted. I am certainly still of the opinion Grant is a clueless moron, who is currently letting John Terry perform the team talks and wouldn’t know sensible tactics if they punched him in his gormless face. Still, Chelsea are hanging in there, nine points behind Arsenal, six points behind United, and despite their recently Carling Cup defeat, have been going strong in the league.
Sir Alex Ferguson has today agreed that Chelsea cannot be ruled out, particularly with the more favourable fixtures they have in store. “The number of points Chelsea are behind Arsenal is not insurmountable,” he said. “The fact that they have got us and Arsenal at home, and their home record is so good, you would have to think they have still got a big chance in the Premier League.”
Do Chelsea stand a chance of winning the title?