At least one (online) bookies have called curtains on the title race and have started paying out bets made on Chelsea to win the Premier League for the second time in three seasons. There may be seven games to go, but for Betsafe, the seven point lead that Chelsea are currently enjoying is good enough.
“Although there's over a month to go until the season ends, and despite Spurs being hot on the leader's tail, there seems to be no sign of stopping Chelsea. We want to celebrate those who've supported the Blues so far – which is why we're paying out before the season finishes.”
“Betting's all about taking risks – so we're taking a risk as well. You've got to be in it to win it - and everyone who put money on Chelsea with us has now won.”
Two people who are certainly not getting ahead of themselves in such a fashion are Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho, who are set to battle for the third time this season. Conte and Chelsea have won the previous two meetings, both at Stamford Bridge, but United will no doubt be confident of at least a draw (their specialty this season) at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Conte has been focused firmly on finish strong and ensuring that Chelsea’s good season turns into a great season (“to become a great season and to write history you must win”) using the memories of past failures to drive and motivate the team and ensure that we fight and work hard to the end.
Meanwhile, Mourinho would like nothing more than to just concentrate on the Europa League, but has begrudgingly accepted that he will have to play a strong lineup on Sunday. Poor plucky little United and their extreme fixture congestion of rather ordinary proportions. How will they ever manage?
“I think if we play against Chelsea with the second team you will kill me. The country, the football country, will kill me because when mathematically it’s possible there’s no reason not to try.”
“If in the certain moment of the season we have no chances to get the top four and we’re still in the Europa League then there’s a reason that nobody can deny, nobody can criticise because then if we only have the Europa League we have to focus on the league. In one week we play Tottenham, Southampton, Palace and then the Europa League final then every one needs to accept I’ll focus on Europa League.”
“Even if we beat Anderlecht we don’t know what will happen. We need to continue in the Premier League and show the amazing character until the end. Until it is mathematically possible we will fight for top four.”
-Jose Mourinho; source: Football 365
It should be noted, that if United win their games-in-hand, they would be level with third-place Liverpool and just one point behind fourth-place Manchester City. Mourinho’s men are by no means out of the top four race.
But all pressure on Chelsea then, since Mourinho can hardly be bothered with this. Nice of the self-proclaimed Judas to already let us know however that he will have no problems with playing a weaker lineup against Spurs. Hopefully we’ll have to the title all wrapped up by then.
Of course, a win at Old Trafford will render most of Jose’s little mind games moot.