The topsy-turvy game between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea never really looked in doubt for the mighty Blues. It will be very hard for any team to challenge Chelsea if they can maintain these stable and effective performances through to Christmas. Villas Boas wanted revenge on Chelsea’s owner Abramovich for sacking him last season, but in the end the Lily White could not outmaneuver the Blue’s attacking trio of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar. “Creativity and brilliance solved the game,” said Villas Boas after the match, and Chelsea lacks neither.
Creativity and brilliance are by no means enough to hold the EPL trophy aloft. All teams yearn for stability throughout the entire season. Last weekend’s results were good examples. Arsenal’s defeat by Chelsea in the league was followed by two consecutive wins. Arsène Wenger’s confidence was boosted by the return of their midfield engine Jack Wilshere. Given such positive circumstances, the Gunners were surprisingly beaten by Norwich City, a team in the relegation zone before the game. Now 10 points behind table leader Chelsea, Arsenal is effectively out of the race for this season’s title.
Manchester City also lacks the fearful stability they displayed last season. Away at West Brom, the Blue Moons slipped first and let the opponents score a goal. However, Super Sub Džeko saved Roberto Mancini’s day in the last 10 minutes by scoring two late goals. The comeback showed the Blue Moons’ character, but also revealed that City is not the unmatchable force it was last season.
Manchester United’s home game against Stoke City was also not easy. Prior to this fixture, the Red Devils had won four of their last five games, but that included only one clean sheet, against Newcastle United. Alex Ferguson usually relies on his team’s brilliant attacking to make up for its sluggish defense. Despite Stoke City scoring twice they still left Old Trafford empty-handed. Difficult fixtures will test the Red Devils in the upcoming weeks. Chelsea and Arsenal are their next two EPL opponents, and there’s also a League Cup game against the Blues on Wednesday next week. These demanding domestic fixtures are sandwiched by European games.