Chelsea ready to lift trophy
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
With Chelsea holding a 10-point lead in the Premier League with six games left, it's surely no longer a question of whether the team will win the title.
To many, it's about when it will happen.
Beat Arsenal on Sunday in a match between the league's top two teams and Chelsea can clinch the championship at Leicester on Wednesday, with four games to go.
Lose - and that hasn't happened to a Jose Mourinho-managed Chelsea team in 12 meetings with Arsenal - and it's likely the coronation will merely be delayed until one of the two upcoming home games, against Crystal Palace on May 3 and Liverpool on May 10.
"I feel we are almost there," Mourinho said, "but there are no 'almosts' in football."
All the same, the engraver is probably sharpening his blade and preparing to chisel "Chelsea" on the trophy for the first time since 2010.
After blowing away their rivals with attractive, attacking football for much of the first half of the season, Mourinho's side has been far from their best in recent weeks but is still churning out the victories. Last Saturday's 1-0 win over Manchester United, which effectively ended their slim hopes of reeling in Chelsea, was a case in point.
Chelsea had just 29.7 percent possession against United, a miserly amount considering the talent in Mourinho's team and the fact the match was being played at Stamford Bridge. But United walked straight into Chelsea's trap and were hit on the counter-attack through Eden Hazard's goal.
Expect Chelsea to cede possession to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, too. It won't bother Mourinho one bit.
A win for Arsenal wouldn't just stall the Blues' procession to the title, it would also be a relief for Wenger to finally get one over his counterpart at the 13th attempt. Wenger was labelled a "specialist in failure" by Mourinho last season, and it wasn't the first time the pair have clashed. Wenger even pushed Mourinho in the chest in a touchline confrontation during the teams' meeting at Stamford Bridge in October.
Unsurprisingly, they didn't shake each other's hand after the final whistle.
At the end of March, Leicester were on an eight-match winless streak and an apparent certainty to go down. Fast forward a month and the Midlands club is the form team among the relegation contenders and on the verge of escaping the bottom three.
Consecutive wins over West Ham, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea have seen Leicester climb off the bottom of the standings and go tied on points with 17th-place Hull. The first of their remaining six matches is against last-place Burnley on Saturday.
While Burnley have not scored in four games, Leicester have netted 10 times in that period, which is the reason behind their resurgence.
"The danger is people start believing the job is done," Leicester manager Nigel Pearson said. "It is far from it."
Three points separate the bottom five teams with a month remaining in the season.