They think its all over

Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool has put Chelsea football club within touching distance of their third Premier League title. Didier Drogb...

Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool has put Chelsea football club within touching distance of their third Premier League title. Didier Drogba’s opener and Frank Lampard’s second seemingly sealing the deal on who will be this season’s Premier League champions with just one game to go.

It is as sure as eggs are eggs apparently. Chelsea will be crowned champions at the weekend. The bookmakers can start paying out, as many did a few months back when the news broke of the Cole’s impending marriage break-up

Frank Lampard understands the situation stating as he did earlier today that the club have to win two games to win the double. However it isn’t that bare statistic that makes it inevitable. It is the opposition, Wigan at Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season, followed by a trip to Wembley to face the team who finished bottom of the Premier League pile, cash strapped Portsmouth.

So surely, it’s just a matter of time isn’t it?

Well, no it is not solely a matter of time. To be fair, Chelsea players and fans are right to be optimistic, but cautious. Football has a funny way of almost handing you victory on a plate, only to snatch it cruelly away at the last possible second. The bookmakers should avoid the grand gestures of bravado and pay out only when (and if) Chelsea achieves the league title victory they crave and then go and embellish upon that by lifting the FA Cup a week later. By the way the odds are between 1.04 and 1.17, so no surprising outright betting bonus is expected.

It is the biggest couple of weeks in the history of Chelsea football club. Winning the league is a fantastic achievement, but winning the double would be a first for the club. So would retaining the FA Cup for a second successive season. Carlo Ancelotti would be the first manager in history to win the double in his first season in charge at a club.

The neutral fan has already assigned Chelsea that position, after all, it is only Wigan and Portsmouth standing in their way isn’t it? Tottenham smashed nine past Wigan not so long ago, Portsmouth don’t even know which players will be in their squad and available for the cup final and if Chelsea could have handpicked an opponent for the FA Cup final and the crucial final league game at home, they may not have been able to pick easier games on paper.

A salutary lesson for Chelsea comes from the 2007-2008 season when Wigan came to the Bridge with Chelsea chasing Manchester United for the league title. Michael Essien had given the home side a 20th minute lead, but Chelsea could not extend that lead further and in injury time, Wigan snatched a last gasp equaliser when Emile Heskey turned home Jason Koumas cross. The result put Chelsea five points behind United with four games to play and all but extinguished their title hopes.

Carlo Ancelotti may do very well to hang the newspaper reports from that day around the Chelsea training ground this week as a gentle reminder of what can happen.

However this Chelsea team is more experienced, stronger at home and Wigan Athletic are not quite the force they were back in 2008. The odds are in favour of the home team avenging that draw and taking the title with a victory. However the players and fans are right to urge a word of caution. Victory over any Premier League side is never given, it is always earned and should never be expected.

Just as winning the Premier League and FA Cup is always earned, rather than expected.

“Some people are on the pitch...They think it’s all over...”

It isn’t. Yet.

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