Everyone who loves football watched United draw with Chelsea at the Theatre Of Dreams. Many a pundit and even both managers came out with their own conclusions about the results. One factor remained however: The status quo has not really changed.
Ferguson’s side are still top by three points, the point a piece made sure that the top two pulled further away from their strongest rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, yet both sides are still some way off their brilliant best, as proven by their two indifferent halves of football.
A myth has been promoted in football recently that Chelsea’s squad is the strongest in the premiership. In truth man for man Liverpool and Arsenal are equipped better with a deeper bench of all round quality yet are horrendously under performing. While Manchester and Chelsea’s problems mirror each other. United are better covered in defence, are short in midfield and reasonable upfront (if fully fit, Ole, Saha, Rooney and Smith are actually a rather good forward line). Chelsea are desperately short in defence, awesome in midfield and reasonable upfront. Only because upfront they can play with one striker. But with Scheva out of sorts it can be argued that minus Drogba Chelsea are probably short upfront too.
The period in the next month will be crucial for both sides. Games will come thick and fast, both teams will start to pick up their true best form, while the squad strategy and injuries may come into play. Chelsea will have a slight advantage here since both Ballack and Scheva might get true form in this period. However any injuries to say Terry or Carvalho at the back or Drogba in this period and Ballack and Scheva remaining as they are now and the going could get difficult since they have to visit Arsenal in this period and a few other stubborn premiership sides. As for United an injury to Rooney and Saha before Solksjaer and Smith return fully could really be bad. Practically they could probably survive without Scholes or Carrick.
January is where however the keys to the title door will lie. If Chelsea spends on a few defenders the gaping hole in their squad will disappear. Money won’t be the issue. United on the other hand need another striker as cover for Saha, another center midfielder or two to cover the lack of back up for Scholes and Carrick and possibly serious back up for Giggs since Richardson doesn’t cut it. What happens in the January window will go a long way in determining the titles fate.
Furthermore, if the top two slip up in the busy Christmas-New Year period, letting Arsenal and Liverpool back in the title race could prove costly. For one feels if those two get a chance to come back to par. They might not let it slip again.