The score is 1-1, there are literally seconds until the final whistle and you win a corner. What do you do? Obviously put everyone in that box and swing it in and pray for the best. Well that’s what you do if you are anyone but us. We simply play it short. And that few seconds summarises perfectly what it’s been like to watch Chelsea this season.
There has been plenty of talk of Liverpool ‘bottling’ this title race, largely from those who wish ill upon them. But we can put that to one side for now. Facing Chelsea at Anfield, five years after Steven Gerrard’s fateful slip and on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Hillsborough, created a pressure that would make many teams crumble. But not them.
Chelsea’s match against Brighton may have seemed like something of a sideshow compared to the festival going on up the road at Tottenham’s new ground, but their 3-0 victory could prove to be just as important in the race for the top four and for the future of their manager Maurizio Sarri.
Between defeat at Chelsea in their first away game under Emery and mid-December, Arsenal took 14 of a possible 18 points on the road, but face trips to Brighton and Liverpool having been haunted by the ghost of seasons past against Southampton at St Mary’s.
Antonio Conte’s damning and withering verdict of Chelsea’s performance as they threw away two points against West Ham has left even more question marks hanging over his future - with any hope of Champions League football next season now looking forlorn.
Three goals from across that spectrum between ‘sublime’ and ‘ridiculous’ gave Tottenham their first away victory over Chelsea in almost 30 years, and allayed any fears that the Premier League champions might catch their London rivals in the race for continental qualification.
The fortunes of Manchester City and Chelsea have followed vaguely parallel paths for much of the last five decades, but on the evidence of this match at the Etihad, the two clubs are heading in different directions right now.
Antonio Conte may have seen his long-running feud with Jose Mourinho come to an end at Old Trafford but it may also have been the afternoon when the Chelsea manager saw his team’s hopes of a Champions League place similarly disappear into thin air.
Chelsea’s poor form since Christmas has gone almost under the radar. It has seen us fall from third on the coattails of United to fifth and the ignominy of following another league-winning season by failing to qualify for the Champions League.