The heat is on Chelsea near the top of the table in the Premiership after Liverpool defeated West Ham United 2-1 at Upton Park thanks to a goal and an assist from Peter Crouch. Although Chelsea has one game in hand (versus Blackburn on Wednesday night), Liverpool are just two points behind the Blues and equal in goal difference.
The question is can Liverpool catch Chelsea?
Despite West Ham having the better of the first half, Liverpool took control of the match in the second half with Craig Bellamy coming close a couple of times. While Liverpool’s home record remains impressive, the Reds have seemed to have fixed their away form too.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are feeling the pressure from all sides. In addition to Liverpool breathing heavy nearby, Jose Mourinho’s squad is still six points away from Manchester United.
In another must-win match for Chelsea, the team faces a formidable opposition tonight against Blackburn at Stamford Bridge. Rovers are buoyed after scoring seven goals in the last two matches and conceding zero. Matt Derbyshire has scored three goals in the last three matches, while Morten Garnst Pederson shares the same honor.
Chelsea has won its last two matches, albeit against weaker opposition (Nottingham Forest and Wycombe Wanderers). It’s been eleven long days since Mourinho’s side lost to Liverpool 2-0, so let’s see how the team performs in this tricky match.
My personal belief is that Chelsea will stumble between now and the end of the season. But, despite their strong form, Liverpool will slip a few times when you least expect it allowing Chelsea to pick up the second place slot.
At the other end of the table, only 10 points separate 18th place West Ham from 12th place Newcastle. If any of those teams in the bottom half of the table go on a bad run of form, relegation looms. An example of this is Wigan who are now precariously sitting fourth from bottom, just two points above West Ham.
Don’t count Watford out yet. The bottom place team have two games in hand (one is against Manchester United tomorrow night).