Chelsea on the brink of clinching Premier League titleManchester, England: By mixing attacking verve with defensive resilience, Chelsea has been a class apart in the Premier League and can win the title Sunday with three games to spare.A victory over Crystal Palace at
Manchester, England: By mixing attacking verve with defensive resilience, Chelsea has been a class apart in the Premier League and can win the title Sunday with three games to spare.
A victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge will seal the title for Chelsea, which has lost only two games and is on course to register the second-highest points total in the 23-year history of the Premier League.
A 13-point lead demonstrates Chelsea's supremacy this season.
"I think we are what every team would like to be," said manager Jose Mourinho, who is on the brink of winning his third English league title with Chelsea — but his first since returning for a second spell at the club in 2013.
Chelsea has also won the League Cup this season.
Mourinho has molded an almost complete lineup, with the off-season additions of striker Diego Costa and central midfielder Cesc Fabregas filling the most vulnerable areas of the team.
Chelsea blew opponents away with its attacking brilliance in the first half of the season. With injuries and fatigue creeping in, the Blues have been more pragmatic in the second half but the results haven't dipped — they are unbeaten since Jan. 1.
"This was the month when people were waiting for Chelsea to slip up, to lose one game or draw," Mourinho said after Wednesday's 3-1 win at Leicester. "We were phenomenal tactically, with team spirit, the way we defended, the way we were clinical with our goal and the stability we showed in every game."
Chelsea has 80 points and can achieve a maximum of 92, which would be second to the league-high of 95 — set by Mourinho's title-winning Chelsea team of 2004-05.
Here are some other things to know about the upcoming games in England:
Crystal Palace would seem like the ideal opponent for Chelsea — a mid-table side that has lost its last two games and has little to play for.
Palace, though, has been one of the most dangerous teams away from home in recent months, winning five of its last six games on its travels thanks to its attractive counter-attacking style.
If Chelsea does slip up, the title can still be secured this round if Arsenal — the only other team mathematically capable of winning the trophy — loses at Hull on Monday.
FIGHT FOR SECOND
Liverpool's slump in form has virtually guaranteed that Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will fill the remaining three Champions League qualification berths behind Chelsea.
But the order in which they'll finish could go down to the final day.
City has climbed back to second place after winning two straight home matches and is ahead of Arsenal on goal difference going into Sunday's match at Tottenham.
United, which is two points behind City and Arsenal, is at home to West Bromwich and is looking to bounce back from a 3-0 loss at Everton — its biggest league defeat under manager Louis van Gaal.
An improbable run of four straight wins has hauled Leicester from last place to outside the relegation zone with four matches left, but the pressure is still showing on manager Nigel Pearson.
In a bizarre post-game news conference after losing to Chelsea, Pearson took offense at a reporter asking the Leicester manager to explain why he thought the team had received criticism and negativity this season.
Pearson called the reporter "daft," ''stupid," and "silly."
"I think you are an ostrich," Pearson said. "Your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand? Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no," Pearson said.
Leicester, which hosts Newcastle on Saturday, is a point clear of the bottom three and five ahead of last-place Burnley.