Time to rub your glasses

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Chelsea FC manager Tony Conte on the touchline. PICTURE: ACTION IMAGES


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

It’s the time of the season when eccentric results start to raise eyebrows and cause pairs of glasses to be removed, cleaned and replaced.

It happens every year, around now. Back in the day, the Grandstand teleprinter would churn out something like ‘Liverpool 0 Aston Villa 6’, and a baffled David Coleman would scratch his head and await confirmation from someone on the end of a Bakelite telephone.

Something suggests we’re poised to see a few gasp-inducing results in the remaining weeks of the season.
Whether it means Chelsea are caught by Spurs or not, it is certainly warming up at the top of the table.

The Blues were under intense pressure at Bournemouth, with Tottenham having won earlier on Saturday... but managed to pull off a 3-1 win, largely thanks to the oh-so-satisfying interplay between N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard.

Tony Conte’s boys are doing enough to keep rampant Spurs at bay, just.

But a big test looms this weekend, with Tottenham again able to pile extra stress on Chelsea, thanks to having a (relatively) straightforward home tie against Bournemouth the day before the Blues’ Easter Sunday excursion to face Jose Mourinho’s stuttering Manchester United.

April’s unexpected, unpredicted scorelines began with Crystal Palace’s surprise win at Stamford Bridge, and continued with Palace’s Monday night victory over a lacklustre Arsenal.

Other eyebrow-raisers will follow, but Chelsea remain upbeat.

Conte’s declaration that he’s enjoying the pressure didn’t quite ring true. What manager would not rather celebrate a title win early if he could?

But being bullish is part of the game, and the Blues feel they have the firepower and skill to overcome a United team still having to travel to play key European fixtures.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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