Chelsea entered this midweek round of the Premier League with a 5-point lead over fifth place, and despite finding increasingly hilarious and frustrating ways to drop points, finish this midweek round with a 6-point lead over fifth place!
Yes, Manchester United have managed to one-up Chelsea once again, and lose at home to Burnley, a team we actually beat not that long ago 3-0!
Yes, this is assuming that Wolves lose to Liverpool on Thursday. But even if that turns out to be wrong and Liverpool most surprisingly drop points for just the SECOND time all season, we will have increased our advantage over the teams normally considered our top-four rivals in the last couple weeks.
Chelsea have won just 5 points in our last 4 games, but during that same span, Spurs have just 4 and Manchester United have just 3. Arsenal actually have 6, but they’re barely in the top half of the table, let alone in the actual top-four race at the moment. (And we have more points than Arsenal if we consider our last 5 games, 8 vs. 6.)
It’s a familiar question from the end of last season, but does anyone actually want to finish in the top four?
Last year, Chelsea finished third with 72 points, which would not get it done in most Premier League seasons. Now we’re on course to finish fourth with just 63, which would be the lowest fourth place points total since Everton’s 61 in 2004-05.
We could of course dwell on the number of “easy” points we’ve dropped in the last couple months. We could be home and dry for next year’s Champions League already!
But that wouldn’t be very useful.
Or we could clutch at the lifelines we’ve been given with all our might and determination and pull ourselves out of the muck and mire. Much more useful!
We have 14 games to see this through. It won’t be easy, certainly not on the back of recent performances, but it’s a prime opportunity to grind out the improvements we so desperately need, not just for this season, but for the future of this youth revolution as well.