In the future when historians look back to the 2007/2008 Premier League season, the date they’ll agree that Chelsea blew their chances of winning the Premier League title was April 14, 2008. To make matters worse for Chelsea fans, it’s now entirely possible that Manchester United may be crowned Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, April 26. More on that later.
By drawing Wigan 1-1 at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea has lost its last chance of winning the psychological war against Manchester United. If Chelsea had won tonight’s match and had picked up three points against Everton on Thursday, the Blues would have jumped into joint first place — tied with United. That would have put the pressure on Man United to pick up the three points against Blackburn on Saturday and would have allowed United and Chelsea to play a cat and mouse game to see who would lift the trophy in early May.
One of the biggest advantages in Man United’s favor is their superior goal difference. While the Red Devils currently have 80 points, their +54 goal difference (which is 19 goals better than Chelsea) counts as a one point advantage as it’s almost impossible for the Blues to surpass that in their four remaining games. So, for our sakes, let’s say that Man United now has 81 points, not 80.
As it stands now, the chances of Chelsea winning the Premier League are almost zero. With Man United five points ahead of Chelsea, the Blues are now the ones under even more pressure. A Chelsea loss against Everton at Goodison Park would mean that Manchester United would be crowned Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge later this month if they can beat Blackburn at Ewood Park this Saturday and break Chelsea’s four year unbeaten home record on Saturday, April 26.
Of course, anything can happen between now and then, but Chelsea really has put themselves into an almost impossible situation. Combine this with the fact that they also have to worry about winning against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final and you can see how much of a crucial blow tonight’s draw against Wigan was.
Manchester United’s lucky number is 87. Even if Chelsea manages to beat Everton this Thursday and Man United at Stamford Bridge — and Chelsea wins their final two matches of the season (against Newcastle and Bolton), the maximum number of points Avram Grant’s side can attain is 87.
With Man United currently on 80 points (and 81 if you consider the goal difference factor), all they need are seven more to guarantee they’ll win the title. Those seven points will need to come from Blackburn (a), Chelsea (a), West Ham (h) and Wigan (a). That’s of course unless Chelsea slips up again like they did against Wigan.
All United needs is seven points from a possible 12. No wonder Man United are 1/14 odds to win the title.