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Sir Alex Ferguson wrote off Chelsea’s title hopes in the middle of last week and what the Scot was charitably calling a two-horse race was down to one on Sunday, as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City.
Strange things happen in football — look to the Spanish League, where Real Madrid suddenly look like giving Barcelona a run for their money – but surely nothing will stop Manchester United now.
So I think we can legitimately look beyond the Premier League and ahead to the prize Ferguson really wants this season.
Ferguson has often spoken of the frustration he felt that the great team that won the Champions League in 1999 did not go on and really dominate Europe.
Interim Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink is adamant that he will be leaving at the end of the season to concentrate on the Russia job.
Chelsea fans who had been hoping the Dutchman would decide to stay must now start contemplating a fourth manager in two years.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has dismissed Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes, but given his side’s run of form he is perhaps being generous to Liverpool by saying they still have a chance.
“The title race now is going to be between ourselves and Liverpool,” Ferguson wrote in the programme for the 3-0 home win over Fulham that sent the champions five points clear of Liverpool and 10 ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea.
Guus Hiddink is in talks with Chelsea about taking over as manager until the end of the season while continuing as Russia coach.
Hiddink said he was approached by the Premier League club to coach the team after Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked on Monday.
From our main soccer site:
If John Terry had remained upright for half a second more on a soggy Moscow night in May then Avram Grant would probably still be battling for honours on all fronts as Chelsea manager.
As it was, the England centre-half went flying and sent his penalty wide, minutes later Manchester United were crowned European champions and Chelsea’s wait to get their name on the trophy went on.
Since Roman Abramovich arrived with his millions from Russia, Chelsea have been used to shopping in the transfer market’s version of Harrods for glitzy new players.
Monday’s deadline day snaffling of Ricardo Quaresma, a player recently voted the worst performer in Serie A, suggests Chelsea are suddenly hunting in the thrift stores with the rest of the struggling population, self-consciously sifting through the bargain bucket.
Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Chelsea will at least keep the Premier League interesting for the time being but it probably said more about the decline of this Chelsea team than it did about Liverpool chances of actually beating United in the title race.
Before Torres snuck in to head Liverpool back to within two points of United and Ashley Cole gifted the Spaniard a second goal, it was a case of same-old same-old for Rafa Benitez’s men.
The deadline this year is February 2 given January finishes on a weekend so there is a little extra time for some late deals.
Chelsea are back up to second in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s glamour clash at Liverpool, but life as a professional footballer is not always so rosy – especially if you write a book.
England and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole recently warned players not to release an autobiography if they are already enduring a bit of a rough treatment from the press and/or supporters.