Michael Ballack scored two goals, including a late penalty kick, to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory against Manchester United on Sunday. The win helped Chelsea catch Manchester United on points with two games left to play in the English Premier League Season.
Chelsea has remaining games against Newcastle and Bolton while Manchester United will face West Ham United and Wigan. Chelsea must finish ahead of Manchester United on points because of Manchester United’s essentially insurmountable edge in goal differential (16 goals).
The big talking point following the game will surely be Alex Ferguson’s decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal decider against Barcelona. If you’re ripping that move you either don’t grasp the situation or you are a Man U hater who was looking for a reason to rip on Ferguson.
Man U has what amounts to a must-win Champions League semifinal on Wednesday and there is no debating that the Barcelona game is more important than today’s Chelsea game. Why? Well because losing today doesn’t kill Man U’s title hopes. The Red Devils still hold a lock in the goal differential department against Chelsea, meaning if they win out they win the title. A loss on Wednesday DOES kill Manchester United’s Champions League dreams, and for those of you who have lost track, Man U has a trophy case full of EPL titles while just one Champions League trophy.
Kudos to Avram Grant for bringing the Blues all the way back. Tied for first in the EPL and in a great position heading into a Champions League semifinal second-leg encounter with Liverpool is pretty impressive stuff. I can’t help but wonder if Jose Mourinho would have done better, or worse, with this same Chelsea squad.
What did you think of today’s match? Share your thoughts below.