Wow. After that Man City game I was really convinced that the title was Liverpool's. But last night Chelsea and Mourinho used the perfect tactics to blow the title race wide open.
1) Tactical Masterstroke I: Parking The Bus
That ol'chestnut. No one does it better than Mourinho. And when he has the right players to execute those tactics well, the results come. Basically Chelsea had 9 men behind the ball all the time, with 5 defenders and 2 defensive mids to shackle, clear and head away just about anything that came into their box. Impressive if he were trying not to concede.
2) Tactical Masterstroke II: Counterattack Ruthlessness
There arn't many players better than a Willian/Shurle + Demba Ba combo if left alone to take on an entire defence on their own (maybe Sturridge and Suarez or RVP and Rooney). Ba holds the ball really well and especially when Willian came on, they were very potent.
3) Tactical Masterstroke III: Frustrating Opponents
No one does it better than Mou. From poking opposing managers in the eye (RIP Tito Vilanova), time-wasting, diving, getting players to get deliberate yellow cards and playing very negative football. He sure knows how to set his team out to frustrate opponents.
4) Poor Steven Gerrard
Even from a Man United fan, I have to say that I respect the guy. Primarily for his unwaivering loyalty, he is one helluva mean midfielder as well, even at his current age (35?). Probably Liverpool's version of our very own Ryan Giggs. His slip was the reason Chelsea managed to score, with Demba Ba able to outpace him and then slip the ball past Mignolet. Considering he's won almost every other club trophy available, if he still doesn't win the league this year (he's never won before), even the neutrals will feel really sorry for him. Or perhaps it's just not meant to be?
5) Title Race Wide Open
This is where it gets really exciting. With Chelsea's win over Liverpool and Man City's win over Crystal Palace last night, the title race is blown wide open yet again. Assuming all three teams win their final remaining two or three games, Man City will win the league on goal difference. However, Man City needs to play one extra game and their next one is against Everton, which is probably the toughest opponents left of all remaining games of those three teams. I have a feeling there will be far more drama to come in the coming weeks.
From a Man United perspective, with Giggsy making a dream start as interim manager and then the reopened wide open title race, this has been a really good weekend.