It’s not time to gloat yet – no way even near that.
But after an assured performance by a distinctly second-choice Manchester United backline and a cracker of a game over at White Hart Lane (Tottenham v Chelsea seems to be the new Liverpool v Chelsea, albeit a lot more fun), Manchester United move 3 points clear of Arsenal at the top of table with eight games to go (3 of them against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool and none of them that could be considered easy, apart from Wigan away perhaps).
United are also 5 points clear of Chelsea, who thrice blew a perfectly good lead and let Tottenham back into the game. Would Mourinho have let that happen? Answer us, Mr Grant! How could you blow such a great chance to draw level with Arsenal on points ahead of your weekend game?
And Mr Benitez, if you’re watching…THIS is how you rotate your squad against lowly relegation-material opposition. There’s a reason why Liverpool spent 20m+ and made Torres one of the highest paid players in the Premier League (let alone Liverpool) – use him.
Cristiano Ronaldo – take a bow, you son of a bitch. 33 goals in a season, and with at least 10 games left to go, he could easily hit 40. And here I was thinking we were missing Ruud. Ronaldo was stand-in captain (in the absence of Neville, Giggs, Rio and Rooney) but despite scoring both goals Ronaldo played down his contribution to the team:
“The important thing is to win and get three points. My confidence is high and I feel in good form. We now have a good advantage and need to think about Sunday. If we win against Liverpool we have a good chance of winning the title.”
I think that despite the importance of the Liverpool game, the result of Chelsea v Arsenal will be just as crucial. Another United win coupled with a draw at Stamford Bridge would, theoretically speaking, give United a cushion of 5 and 7 points (respectively) against both teams, and at this stage of the season that’s as good as wrapping up the title.
Grand Slam Sunday won’t be a footballing classic, but hopefully it will decide (to a large extent) who takes the title. For all we know, Arsenal and Liverpool could win and throw the title race wide open again. And a result (Arsenal winning at Stamford Bridge) that would not have been possible under Mourinho might just come about under Grant – and for that reason he has perhaps the most important role to play on Sunday.
Grand Slam Sunday Preview: