Four points separate Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur with six matches to play, and that’s a surmountable deficit for second-place Spurs.
Given the near peerless form of Spurs and the relative lack of title races since 2013-14, many are salivating at the thought of a true title race.
Should they be? In theory, very much so. Chelsea is a season removed from a team that showed all the character of a soap opera, getting its manager fired and finished well off its aims of repeating as PL champs.
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And Spurs can burnish its confidence while increasing the heat under Chelsea by winning a head-to-head bout at Wembley Stadium in an FA Cup semifinal on Saturday. A two-match losing streak, the loss of silverware, and a defeat at its closest rival would surely have Eden Hazard and Co. scrambling for confidence.
And the North Londoners will likely have a significant edge in goal differential and goals scored should they erase the 4-point gap by season’s end. With relegation candidates both on opposite sides for Decision Day, look out.
Yet the schedule says this is going to be a very difficult proposition for Spurs, who will have to win out over a tough schedule — three-straight London Derbies, a visit from Man Utd, a trip to resurgent Leicester — and hope a home-heavy schedule somehow doesn’t work for the Blues. Chelsea is 13W-2L at the Bridge this season.
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Here’s what we’ll see, week-by-week:
Chelsea vs. Spurs — FA Cup semifinal (Saturday)
Chelsea vs. Southampton (4/25)
Crystal Palace vs. Spurs (4/26)
One more day’s rest for Spurs, but a trip to a lively and inspired Palace led by Tottenham outcast Andros Townsend.
Everton vs. Chelsea
Spurs vs. Arsenal
Spurs will know Chelsea’s fate at Goodison Park by the time an important North London Derby kicks off at White Hart Lane.
West Ham vs. Spurs (5/5)
Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough (5/8)
This time it’s Spurs who can set the tone with a Friday afternoon fight at the London Stadium, giving Chelsea the weekend to marinate in or ruminate on the score ahead of a Monday battle.
West Brom vs. Chelsea (5/12)
Spurs vs. Manchester United (5/14)
Chelsea vs. Watford (5/15)
Leicester City vs. Spurs (5/18)
Chelsea vs. Sunderland (5/21)
Hull City vs. Spurs (5/21)
If it comes down to this manic 9-day stretch, Spurs will have to earn their stripes while Chelsea has to wildly disappoint with losses against lesser side. The Blues also finish with two at home, while Spurs won’t see WHL over two final matches in four days.