Date:22nd March 2011 at 2:18am
Written by:
United champions

Will we be seeing scenes like this in May?

Not arrogant justĀ  better. We’re Man United we’ll do what we want.The confidence of many United fans is more than justified considering the enormous success we’ve enjoyed in the past 20 years.

This season could well one of United’s most successful ever, with The Reds still in the hunt for all three major trophies.

Having lost only three games all season in the league and sitting top by five points, the smart money’s well and truly on United regaining the title we lent to Chelsea last season. Arsenal’s draw at West Brom on Saturday has only reiterated the belief among many that United have one hand on the Premier League trophy already.

One team who’ve been quietly creeping up the table and refusing to relinquish their title ambitions are the current champions Chelsea.

At first glance it may seem laughable that a team that’s lost a whopping seven games already this season, can have any form of title aspirations. However Chelsea have now won three games on the trot- including the win against United that many Reds have been quick to dismiss as simply the result of poor refereeing. I understand that a hat-trickĀ  of victories hardly makes a stunning run of form and is not a cavalier charge towards the title but there’s no denying that at least their moving in the right direction at the right time of the season.

David Luiz has fitted into the Chelsea team almost as well as Chris Smalling has fitted into United’s while the fact that Fernando Torres hasn’t started scoring has been offset by others pitching in with goals. There’s always the chance that once the former Liverpool hit-man does find the net then he won’t stop scoring, as the saying I’ve used on Wayne Rooney several times this season about ‘form being temporary and class is permanent’ applies to a player of Torres’ calibre.

Chelsea’s run-in is at least on paper not the easiest set of fixtures with tricky trips to Goodison Park and The Britannia while entertaining relegation battlers West Ham and Birmingham- which at the late stage of the season can’t be taken for granted. There also a home game against a Spurs side which on their day can be one of the most dangerous in Europe.

The game which could well decide the destiny of the title is the one at Old Trafford sandwiched between the two Champions League ties.

Every United fan I’ve spoke to is confident that Chelsea have no chance whatsoever of repeating last season’s result as it seems a game you just cannot imagine us losing.

The problem with that train of thought is that while I understand it, I’ve thought the same way in previous seasons and been left with more than a little egg on my face. For the Liverpool game in 2009 I was adamant we’d end their title hopes only to be left reeling with anger after the worst result I can ever recall. Then there was the Chelsea game last season, where I again was positive we had no chance of achieving anything less than victory.

If the unthinkable were to happen and Chelsea were to gain a victory at Old Trafford then the title race would be blown wide open, it would be 1998 all over again. Then as now, it seemed impossible for United to not beat Arsenal, yet Marc Overmars scored a winner which shifted the balance of power, to North London, albeit only for a season.

United have faltered in games like this before and I know this may sound ridiculously pessimistic but there’s been far too many below-par performances this season to make me feel any game, never mine one against a team that still contains an impressive array of talent, is a formality.

United’s injury crisis is reaching ridiculous levels and if certain defenders don’t return from injury soon, then even games which would be considered easy could turn out to be far more difficult than expected.

Arsenal’s season seems to have imploded and the re-signing of Jens Lehman merely underlines the depths to which Arsene Wenger’s men have sunk.

United’s record against Arsenal in recent years, also makes me feel our trip to the Emirates will yield three points, which would be the end of any lingering hopes the Gunners had of finally ending their trophy drought.

Nine points behind and a game in hand may seem like too tall an order for Ancelotti’s men to overturn, but with United’s defence stretched to breaking point, plus a massive game against that massive club from Eastlands to contend with it’s going to be a testing few weeks for The Reds. Chelsea have a lot to do by they may not be dead and buried just yet.

Am I being overly pessimistic? Do Chelsea really have a shot at the title? Please feel free to comment below.

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