Chelsea goalkeeper backs Mourinho’s title assessment

Petr Cech has backed Jose Mourinho’s assessment of the Premier League title race, agreeing that Manchester City remain the favourites.

An Andre Schurrle hat-trick gave Chelsea a 3-1 win at Fulham on Saturday afternoon, and they now head the table by four points over second placed Liverpool. However, City, who were busy adding the League Cup to their trophy collection on the Sunday, are just six points behind the Londoners, and also have two matches in hand.

This, and their superior goal difference, makes Manuel Pellegrini’s side many pundits’ favourites to win the title they lost to rivals United last season. And Cech is also of the opinion that the Etihad Stadium club currently have the edge in the race, although he has promised fans he and his team-mates will fight them all the way.

“We are top of the table because Manchester City are two games behind,” the 31-year-old Czech Republic goalkeeper told Pravo. “If they win them, then they will be ahead of us due to the more number of goals scored. We are not the biggest favourites but we want to win the league and we will be fighting for it. There are still 10 games left.”

The words of Cech merely reiterate what Mourinho said after the win at Craven Cottage. Although the Portuguese coach is used to winning the Premier League, having done so in 2004 and 2005, on both occasions his side were favourites throughout. And he admits he would rather have the destiny of the title race in his own hands.

“I prefer to have the destiny in my hands, and only City have destiny in their hands,” said the 51-year-old, who has also won titles in his homeland, Italy and Spain. “If I win every game until the end of the season – which we won’t – maybe we are not champions. If they win all 12 games they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands.”

In what is likely to be an intriguing twist in the battle for the title, both Chelsea and City have yet to visit Anfield, which could yet hand the initiative to Brendan Rodgers’ side. Only Manchester United, with 20 titles, have won more than the Anfield club’s haul of 18, yet they were last crowned champions of England way back in the 1989-90 season.

Arsenal, meanwhile, suffered a huge setback on Saturday when they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Whilst Arsene Wenger’s side are by no means out of the race – they are still in third position and just four points off top-spot – a lack of firepower is likely to deny the Emirates Stadium outfit a first championship crown since 2004.


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