West Bromwich Albion’s 90th-minute winner against Spurs on Saturday means that if Chelsea beat Liverpool on Sunday, the Blues will be back in the thick of the top four race — only three points behind Liverpool with a game-in-hand and two points behind Spurs with two games to play for both. This seemed unthinkable just a couple weeks ago.
For a while there, Chelsea truly seemed to be down and out of the race for the top four and Champions League qualification. After successive defeats at the hands of the Manchester clubs as well as a defeat against city rivals Tottenham Hotspur at home for the first time in 28 years, everything seemed to be over.
Meanwhile, Barcelona added on to the misery, knocking us out of the Champions League, thereby ending our hopes of pulling a repeat of 2012. Hope was lost and the fat lady had sung.
We were looking for any chance, any glimmer of hope that we could latch on to amidst all the news of palpable discords and power struggles. The wheels were set in motion a three weeks ago, when, courtesy of a formation change and Olivier Giroud, Chelsea managed a late-late show to come from 2-0 down to win the game 2-3 against Southampton, while Spurs lost 3-1 to Manchester City. Liverpool were still going strong as they were victorious against Bournemouth in the same week.
Following this, Spurs could only manage a draw against Brighton away from home in a midweek fixture while Chelsea managed to win 2-1 against Burnley, even after a horrendous miss by Morata. This time, however, Liverpool stumbled as well, as they only managed a 2-2 draw against West Brom. West Brom, however, were not done yet.
In the following week, Liverpool came unstuck against Stoke City at Anfield as they could only manage a 0-0 against the relegation threatened Potters. Unfortunately, Spurs seemed to have gotten back on track after comfortably winning 2-0 against Watford.
Most of the Chelsea fans, at that point, started questioning the past and engaging in “what-ifs” scenarios. What if Chelsea had won against Spurs, what if we hadn’t dropped points against West Ham. Unfortunately, Chelsea’s best chance to qualify seemed to be at the expense of not the fourth placed Spurs but the third placed Liverpool, as the Reds had played one extra game than us and were still left to play against us at Stamford Bridge.
However, as the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. The unthinkable happened and Spurs, wait for it, lost against 20th placed(now 19th), almost relegated, unbelievably dire West Brom. All this has has led to not only Liverpool being within Chelsea’s reach but now, Spurs are catchable too.
The Baggies, after being pathetic for most of the season, have become a bit of a giant killer in recent weeks as victories against Manchester United and Spurs have shown while also managing a 2-2 draw against high flying, Champions League finalist Liverpool.
After huffing and puffing for most of the 90 minutes even after enjoying 74% of the possession while having 18 shots, out of which 5 were on target; the magical moment finally arrived. In the 92nd minute, West Brom managed to score off yet another set piece as Dawson’s header was saved by Lloris but a scramble in the penalty box eventually resulted in Jake Livermore scoring the sole goal of the game and winning the match for West Brom.
Jurgen Klopp, once, rightly said that if Premier League was decided by set pieces, West Brom would be the champions. Unsurprisingly, West Brom shot for their goal was their only shot on target as all the statistical and moral superiority of Spurs proved to be for nothing.
Klopp: “If you made a ‘set-piece Premier League’ where only set-pieces are allowed then West Brom would, for sure, not go to the Championship. They are really good at that.”— Oliver Bond (@Oliver__Bond) April 21, 2018
It’s all fun and games to indulge in a little schadenfreude every now and then, however, all this could prove to be for nothing if Chelsea don’t manage to get a win against Liverpool tomorrow. A win tomorrow could not only bring Blues within 3 points of Liverpool but can also close the gap between Chelsea and Spurs to just two points.
So let’s make sure we win that one, eh? FORZA CHELSEA!