MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has spent most of the season downplaying his team’s chances of winning the English Premier League title.
One good result this weekend and he may have to revise his opinion.
With Liverpool inactive and fellow title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City in FA Cup action, Chelsea can extend its lead in the Premier League to seven points by beating Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
LITTLE HORSE NO MORE
Mourinho has labeled Chelsea the “little horse” in the title race, perceiving his squad to be full of young talent with little championship-winning experience. Unbeaten in 13 league matches since the start of December, the team is looking more and more like a thoroughbred.
Boasting the league’s tightest defense, the Blues haven’t been hindered by a shortage of goals from their strikers as at least one of their slew of attacking midfielders - be it Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian or Andre Schuerrle - seems to deliver when it matters.
Defeating Tottenham would put Chelsea nine points clear of Man City - considered by many to be the other title favorite - although City would have three games in hand.
Spurs have a dreadful record at Stamford Bridge - they haven’t won there since 1990, when Gary Lineker was their match-winner - and Mourinho still has never lost a league match at the ground.
MUST-WIN FOR UNITED
West Bromwich Albion claimed its first league win at Old Trafford in 35 years by beating Manchester United 2-1 in September - one of a string of poor results for the champions this season.
Another defeat to West Brom, this time on Saturday at The Hawthorns, would surely end United’s faint hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League.