Title, bragging rights at stake as Premiership season concludes
With the final day's Premier League action looming, it had seemed appropriate to engineer a way to have dramatic music boom out at you as you clicked on this page. But after Tottenham went and beat Manchester City on Wednesday to secure at least fourth place and a berth in the Champions League, bringing resolution to one suspenseful storyline, we didn't bother.
Not that the most exciting Premiership season in years will end on a total anti-climax: Chelsea still has to beat Wigan -- or at least match Manchester United's result against Stoke City -- to collect its first title since 2006. If
It all just feels rather unlikely, is the trouble. Even after a season of such twists and turns as this.
He is not wrong. Back in September, Chelsea was still struggling for width and looked vulnerable at set pieces, but the resemblance to the team of the last few weeks -- which Ancelotti has no need to change -- is minimal.
"The reaction since [losing to Internazionale and tying Blackburn in March] is what's put us in this position with a game to go," said
Wigan might have surprised Arsenal last month (when it scored three goals in the last 10 minutes to win 3-2), but Chelsea rarely fades in such fashion. Of the 32 goals it's conceded, 24 have come in the first hour, compared to just four in the last 10 minutes.
"I wouldn't say it's a sealed result against Wigan," said Ferguson, half-heartedly wafting his tongue toward the inside of his cheek. "All we can do is win against Stoke. You never know, football is a crazy game."
It's unlikely to be mad enough to see the Potters leave Manchester with three points. Wednesday's 1-0 defeat of Fulham was Stoke's first win in a month; the club is 4-6-8 on the road this season, and was beaten 5-0 at Old Trafford last season.
United's failure to meet its end of the bargain would be more surprising than a Chelsea loss. After a none-too-promising start to the season,
That leaves the third-place tussle between Arsenal and Spurs, two points behind their rivals, as the marquee attraction. For Gunners fans, finishing below Tottenham would mark the commencement of Armageddon, and the team's recent play hasn't exactly filled fans with confidence.
"Because we are not in the race anymore something has gone in the belief,"
And they are playing a Fulham squad likely more focused on next Wednesday's Europa League final than on closing out the Premiership season. Already stung by the FA's denial to play the match on Saturday to give Fulham time to prepare for the final, manager
Still, Tottenham has plenty of incentive for pushing Arsenal, as snatching third would also allow Tottenham to avoid UEFA's newly formatted Champions League qualifying stage, though
"I doubt we'll get third," Redknapp said Wednesday shortly before being drenched by icy water by his overexcited players celebrating victory at Manchester City. "But we've made fourth and anything above that is a bonus."
At Turf Moor, Redknapp can take the opportunity to help