By the time Chelsea return to Stamford Bridge to play against Crystal Palace on Sunday May 3 they might be Premier League Champions.
Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday leaving them with two away games against Arsenal and Leicester City knowing that two wins would return the Premier League title to West London for the first time in five years.
United dominated the game with over 70% of possession at Stamford Bridge but the most important stat of the day was a win and three points to Chelsea who closed to within two wins of the title.
Injuries had forced Louis Van Gaal’s hand, with the Dutchman withdrawing the England striker into a midfield role after losing Michael Carrick, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind through injury.
This played directly into Jose Mourinho’s hands as he opted for his usual disciplined defensive approach to minimise free kicks and waited for the inexperienced United defence to open up and pounce on the mistake.
Eden Hazard, once again a contender for player of the season, was the man who would capitalise on the United slip-up.
Hazard could have extended Chelsea’s lead early in the second half after Didier Drogba’s shot took a deflection but he could only drive the loose ball against the post from an acute angle.
De Gea’s defensive shield contained the less experienced Paddy McNair and the Reds midfield was anchored by Herrera, making the side less assured than of late despite Van Gaal’s claim that this had been their “best game” of the season.
Radamel Falcao, give a rare start, was robbed by John Terry and Oscar released Hazard to race clear and nutmeg David De Gea with seven minutes to go until half time.
Falcao had another unconvincing day but had United’s best chance when he hit the woodwork late on after receiving a pass from Luke Shaw.
And Ander Herrera was booked for diving in the Chelsea penalty area late on.