Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham were all left scrambling forforwards on what was a damp squib of a transfer deadline day as last-minute panic left United desperately trying to seal a deal for random target Odion Ighalo.
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.
Hundreds of thousands of ecstatic French fans celebrated the return of their World Cup winning football team yesterday, jumping and chanting “We are the champions” as their bus paraded down the Champs Elysees before a special presidential reception.
A day after being put under investigation by Fifa for complaining about the refereeing of their 2-1 World Cup loss to Switzerland and misbehaviour by fans, Serbia’s football association has filed an official complaint with the sport’s governing body alleging “biased officiating” by referee Feliz Brych.
Chelsea produced the kind of attacking performance in Europe that Manchester United fans were screaming for 24 hours earlier, but found centurion Lionel Messi was still too good for them, as they lost 3-0 in the Nou Camp in what was the harshest of Champions League lessons.
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.