After the final whistle, it’s a reality check for Chelsea that the title is not in the trophy cabinet yet as Spurs have been handed a helping hand by Jose’s United. It’s now down to four points between the Blues and Spurs and there’s still all to play for. The only positive is that it’s still Chelsea’s title to lose. Here are 3 match talking points from the game:
CONTE’S TEAM SELECTION FLAWED BY INJURIES:
The major talking point of the game was Conte’s forced selection to his side. The change in personnel especially in defense: The injury to Marcos Alonso just before kickoff meant Kurt Zouma started on the left of his three-man defense with Cesar Azpilicueta shifting to left-wing back and this killed our flow.
From the onset of the game, Azpilicueta looked unsuited to the role and Zouma looked listless in a dour first half in which United were the better team. Marcos Alonso’s importance to the side was glaring to see. He might be good defensively but offers much more in Chelsea’s attacking play, albeit fending off attention on Hazard by making surging runs into the channels, thereby creating options upfront. The Belgian was staunchly man-marked which ultimately undermined his influence on the game and also affecting Chelsea game plan.
Jose outwitted Conte by going for Rashford’s skill, pace and movement which was reflected in his side first goal, though with a bit of fortune needed. But based on team performance, United showed purpose and end-product and Chelsea’s powers were diminished.
CHELSEA FAIL TO REGAIN ADVANTAGE:
It’s another questionable defeat that poses as a threat to our title ambitions. A win against Manchester United would have dealt Spurs a huge psychological blow in their title chase and ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup semifinal battle at Wembley. Spurs will look forward to the rest of the season with optimism to being able to catch Chelsea and win the title or even the double. Chelsea must now play their remaining games like cup finals.
TITLE RACE A TWO-HORSE RACE:
It’s a London affair in the title race. Spurs will be relishing the battle against Chelsea. This is clearly because we killed their dream last season and they will surely be looking to get one or both over us (with the FA Cup in perspective). Our mantra last season was: ‘we don’t want Spurs to win the league’. Now we must do everything in our powers to stop them from levelling on us so much more winning the league or even the double. Let’s fight on!