With just a couple of games to go now and only a point in it, obviously everyone’s got an opinion on where this season’s Premier League title is heading.
There’d have been a little bit less debate if we hadn’t blown a decent points lead against Spurs but then, whilst we were all but written off after that, our massive win over Stoke City has probably confused matters for a lot of those who expected us to capitulate once United had secured their three points for the weekend.
Anyway, whilst we all know there’s still two games left in which to decide the title, everyone else seems convinced it’ll actually be decided this coming weekend. But whilst it’d be nice to think the dippers would do whatever it took to stop United overtaking the 18 titles mark, Wayne Rooney is counting on the scousers pride doing the exact opposite when we face them on Sunday.
United’s injured frontman says “I’m enjoying the title race. We need Chelsea to slip up now so hopefully Liverpool or Wigan can do us a favour. We just have to try and win our last two games. If Liverpool or Wigan can help us out we’ll be happy. Liverpool are a proud club with a lot of history and I’m sure they’ll want to win that game as they’re fighting for the Europa League.”
Whilst I’m sure there’s a couple of little digs in there, both in terms of ‘history’ and Liverpool fighting for the Europa League (sniggers), I suspect he’s quite right about them not wanting to lose to us even if it means handing over a piece of history they’ve been getting out to dust down for years.
Frank Lampard completely agrees Liverpool’s focus won’t stretch any further than the game in front of them on the day, insisting “There’s no chance that 11 Liverpool players can go out and consider Man United winning the championship in that game. They go out to win the game. You wouldn’t be professional otherwise but they are professional. The manager’s professional, the players are. There’s no way they’ll think about anything other than winning the game regardless of whether it gets them in the Champions League next year or not as well. Even if they’re out of it, they will give everything. There’s no doubt about that.”
As for the title itself, Lampard quite rightly points to the fact that the only way to look at it is that Chelsea have two games to win, stating “If we don’t turn up at Anfield, play slow and without the same intensity that we did against Stoke, then we will lose, it is simple as that. It is a difficult match but it’s not a case of us worrying. Everyone is aware that when they go to Liverpool it will be difficult, whatever stage of the season it is. It is quite a simple formula for us. Win two games and we win the League, if we don’t, we may have to rely on goal difference – it depends on Manchester United’s results.”
Salomon Kalou is another player who’s happy with the result against Stoke but clear we don’t want to rely unnecessarily on the goal difference it gives us, saying “Winning 7-0 at home shows we really want to be champions. If you want to be champions, that’s the kind of game you have to win. We didn’t show any nerves. We were playing at home and we just had to be focused. Everyone was at their best and played very well. We know at the end of the season it could finish on goal difference and we knew we had to score as many as we could against Stoke. If we finish on the same points as Manchester United, the 7-0 could be the difference. But we have to keep going. We know that they won’t back down so we have to push it. We have to focus on ourselves and keep winning our games. That’s how we can win the Premier League title. We can’t expect United to give us the title.”
And just to make it clear everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet, Carlo Ancelotti backs up that sentiment, saying “It is in our hands. It’s ours to lose, but that’s a good thing, I think United will be able to win their games. They have Sunderland and Stoke, and every game is a different story, but our aim is to win two games. I know that if we win two games, we are champions.”
I completely agree with the idea that we have to win both our remaining games because nobody will be doing us any favours along the way but I’m not sure I ever agree with the suggestion that the title’s ours to lose because whilst I appreciate what everyone means by that mathematically, I’m one of them pessimistic types who firmly believe it ain’t over til the fat lady sings – and she’s unlikely to do that until the final whistle on the final day of the season.