Funny old game, football. Frank Lampard, considered to be surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho, pops up as super-sub for Manchester City to score the winner in a 3-2 victory against Sunderland. A win that took Man City to the top of the Premier League on the first day of 2015. At least until such time as Chelsea kicked off their London grudge match at Tottenham.
In the last game of New Year’s Day, Chelsea travelled to White Hart Lane confident of victory. After all, don’t Chelsea always beat Spurs? Of course they do. Tottenham fielded a new look line up and their former striker Clive Allen expressed his pre-match concerns.
Chelsea took an 18th minute lead through that man Diego Costa. Spurs equalised through that man Harry Kane. If you simply backed those two players to score anytime, you’d be doing OK just now.
But then Spurs went and took a 3-1 half time lead. What’s that all about? That wasn’t meant to happen.
The game ended 5-3. That meant that Chelsea and Manchester City have the same points and, amazingly, the same goal difference. So it is that Chelsea end January 1st still top, but only by virtue of the alphabet. I kid ye not!
Now who were those TV pundits who said Chelsea would win the Premier League by 10, 20 or was it 30 points? Those so called experts did get a tad carried away as early as October. Don’t they remember that the season doesn’t end until May?
Manchester City were having a poor season, at least by their standards, until such time as Bayern Munich gifted them a late victory in their Champions League tie. The City players have looked a much more confident squad since that seemingly improbable win.
And, with Frank Lampard scoring as readily as ever, they have a fine, home grown, clever and professional addition to the squad. It doesn’t matter if Lampard starts the game, or enters the fray from the bench; he’s always liable to score crucial goals.
Post match it was confirmed that Lampard will be staying with Man City until the end of the season and not, as originally anticipated, going off to play Mickey Mouse football in the MLS of America. I should think not. Frank Lampard is way too good a player for that level of football.
I still think Chelsea will win the Premier League. Manchester City leak too many goals. But I’m not concerned. Pre-season I told members of VG Tips that I would be backing both clubs to win the title and, at much better odds than exist today, adjusting my stakes accordingly, so ensuring I could only come out ahead financially.
I like bets that you cannot lose!
The turn of events at the turn of the year ensure that the Premier League title is not the formality too many claimed it would be. And that can only be good news for us neutrals.