April 28, 2015

When a stalemate is a win

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

You have to give Jose Mourinho credit: He knows how to win championships.

It doesn’t take three points every game, sometimes all you need is a draw and to make sure your closest rival doesn’t get the win.

That’s exactly what Chelsea did against Arsenal, suffocate the game and held its London rival to a 0-0 draw.

It’s not exciting, but it gets things done.

The Gunners can’t be too upset about the game though, as you could argue it was the Blues’ to lose along. Chelsea had the better chances and had a legit call for a penalty and red card go against it.

When Arsenal keeper David Ospina came out to clear a ball from Oscar and ended up clobbering the Brazilian instead, the Chelsea bench and Mourinho especially were incensed about the lack of a call.

The clattering led to a half-time substitution for Oscar, who was actually playing in a false 9 role with Chelsea missing Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba not at a 100%.

There’s not much for the Gunners to worry about though. Second place is still in their grasp as they’re tied with Man City and also have a game in hand.

And for Chelsea, it’s just one step away from an official coronation.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Manchester United sure proved that possession isn’t everything. Even while having the ball for 65% of the its game with Everton, the Red Devils were still on the losing end of a 3-0 scoreline. Just when you thought Louis van Gaal had it all worked out, right? … Aston Villa scored 12 goals in 25 games under Paul Lambert. It has now scored 14 goals in nine games under Tim Sherwood. This is a team that looked motivated and could’ve beaten Man City, showing that maybe Sherwood was underrated by Tottenham, who let him go … The Villans shouldn’t be too happy about Christian Benteke’s late offside ruling. Joe Hart kept the ball out of the net, but would’ve conceded a penalty. That could’ve swung the result and potentially saved Villa from the relegation struggle … The great escape is on for the Foxes! Leicester City has now won four games in a row and have looked good doing it. While their midweek chances against Chelsea don’t look great, for now it is sitting one spot clear of the relegation zone, something I couldn’t have imagined based on their play just a month ago … Charlie Austin’s missed penalty may have doomed QPR to another season the Championship. Any chance to grab points near the bottom is one you have to take … What a rocket from Charlie Adam. And to think that was his weak foot too.

WELCOME ABOARD!

With a game still to go in the Championship season and playoffs around the corner, we have already found out two of the three teams that will get that world-famous $100-million boost along with the privilege of playing in the Premier League next season: Watford and Bournemouth.

While Watford makes its return after eight years in the wilderness, this will be the Cherries’ first crack at the Premier League. Bournemouth also becomes the smallest club to ever make the top flight, which makes the payday from the Premier League TV deal all the bigger for it.

Of course, there’s still a slight chance Bournemouth may not make it, but it would have to lose 19-0 in the season finale.

Congrats, guys, now here comes the hard part: Staying up.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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