What SAF calls “squeaky bum time” is starting to cause a smell of fear, as well as loathing, around Stamford Bridge.
Man Utd’s specialist last-gasp winner at Eastlands, followed by Chelsea’s scuttling by Spurs and Arsenal’s arcane collapse against Wigan on Sunday have reopened, and narrowed, the Premier League title chase.
Justifying the year’s extension to his contract, Paul Scholes, head and shoulders above anyone else on the day, managed to squeeze another golden goal out his career; earning the dubious perk of a kiss from Gary Neville whose running battle with Craig Bellamy was the liveliest aspect of a drab Manchester derby.
Having delivered a serious setback to their North London rivals during the week, Spurs (who’ve bounced back remarkably from that potentially season-wrecking FA Cup semi-final defeat by Portsmouth) were deserving victors over the leaders, and even managed to get the hapless John Terry sent off into the bargain. A splendid afternoon’s work by ’Arry and co. (And you’d swear JT was only playing cat just lately. His abysmal form pre-dates Bridgegate. In fact he’s been regressing at an alarming rate for 18 months to the point where he’s now deceptively slow.)
On paper at least, Man U’s tricky meeting with a Champions League-chasing Tottenham and Chelsea’s Anfield tangle with Europa giant-killers Liverpool (whose new chairman is ‘a committed Chelsea fan’; they should all be says you) look like the defining matches of what remains of the run-in.
It’s Manna from Heaven for Sky of course, with what appeared a cakewalk turning into a bunfight. There’s now two keen-as-mustard contests for first and fourth. As a league it’s far from perfect, but, as Arsene Wenger stressed, Spain or Italy would do anything to
have half as much drama. Just ask Jose.