Date: 22nd March 2010 at 10:49am
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They say the pressure is usually on the top team in a league but this time it is vastly different. This time all the pressure is on Chelsea as the two other contenders for the title were never expected to compete for gold.

Chelsea brought in a new, experienced manager, they kept their squad together and signed Yuri Zhirkov, a player with undoubted talent so they were regarded as favourites by many before the season started (although I’m still chuckling that some deluded writers and fans really thought this would be Liverpool’s year) while Arsenal sold Adebayor and Toure and United sold Cristiano Ronaldo and let Tevez leave.

They were supposed to run away with it once it became clear that Liverpool would not challenge for anything more than third place and yet they just could not. But Abramovich is surely impatient and he has a tendency to pull the trigger and fire the manager if things go wrong. This is nothing new, of course, we all know this.

But it means that there is a huge amount of pressure on Ancelotti and his players because a fourth successive year without a league title is unthinkable, especially considering that United never had their first choice back five available this season (NEVER, I say, even the Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra quintet played together in only one game) in addition to selling Cristiano Ronaldo and replacing him with an Ecuador winger from Wigan.

It’s no disaster and neither a huge shame if we miss out on a fourth consecutive title. It would be a pity, yes, but no major setback. For Chelsea and their ageing squad and impatient owner though – that is a different story. And their performances in the last few weeks suggest that they are not enjoying the pressure…