Chelsea’s 2015 and 2017 title bids have had a fair few things in common so far, including the part where Chelsea started running away with the league during the winter months. But this season’s title challengers have proven a bit tougher to put away than Manchester City of two years ago. Spurs have felt like a hungrier and more dangerous team than the second place Citizens of 2014-15.
That sentiment is also reflected by midfielder, and occasionally miraculous goalscorer, Nemanja Matić. Matić, who played a crucial role back then just as he has now, has conceded that this season’s race to the finish line has been more difficult than 2015’s Premier League title-winning season.
“This year is more difficult. We finished 2015 eight points more than [Manchester] City if I remember well. I’m not sure that will be the case with Tottenham. I’m sure they won’t give up until the end of the season. It’s hard. We win, Tottenham win. We try to win again and they win again. It’s close. We’ll see if they can drop some points. If we lost, they would be one point behind – that’s pressure.”
-Nemanja Matić; source: Independent
There’s pressure on both Chelsea and Tottenham, but so far, both teams have responded well, regardless of who’s had the advantage of playing first in a given matchweek. The constant pressure has brought out some excellent performances with both sides showing plenty of endurance, willpower, and character to keep the title race exciting for the neutrals.
“It is good to go first – we have got to try to drop the gap to one point and see what happens.”
-Harry Kane; source: Guardian
Should Spurs beat West Ham this Friday, Chelsea will have a few days to let the one point gap sink in prior to kick-off against Middlesbrough on Monday.
But the best thing Chelsea have done already is acknowledge the pressure and not try to pretend it doesn’t exist. The Blues’ ability to perform under the pressure of a potential one point lead will be most crucial in determining where the title eventually ends up.