I want it now, My chance has come and I will grab it I want to be something special
Wayne Rooney certainly delivered something special in a weekend that swung the title race firmly in the favour of Sir Alex Ferguson's team. at half-time it looked like 2 West Ham penalties and chaotic defending had thrown the doors open for Arsenal and Chelsea but Rooney's hat-trick coupled with the London clubs failure to overcome their opponents has slammed it shut in their faces as Manchester United extended their lead to 7 points at the top of the Premier League to close in on their 19th title. Whilst United have for many years mastered the art of the fight-back this one was special even by their standards although helped by Lee Mason inexplicably failing to send off Nemanja Vidic for a professional foul on Demba Ba. Rooney's goals were excellently taken and add a tidy finish from Hernandez and the Red Devils were happier ahead of their Champions League quarter final than Chelsea will be.
The question is where has it all gone wrong for the Blues. Double winners last season with a blistering start to this campaign it should have been all over in their favour but it hasn't worked out that way. Several factors have contributed to this, the injuries to Frank Lampard, Drogba's malaria and the strange dismissal of Ray Wilkins all destabilised the team at a time when the league seemed to be there for the taking. It hasn't helped that Fernando Torres has yet to justify his price tag and doesn't look like doing anytime soon for his new employers. In fact given the fact that he was under-performing at Liverpool makes you wonder why Ancelotti spent £50M on him. His only effect has been to alienate the other strikers who have regularly performed for the club and, as happened when Kevin Keegan signed Tino Asprilla halfway through the season, created uncertainty just as things are looking up.
At the weekend Stoke seemed to be warming up for their cup meeting with Bolton as they started brightly and took the lead. Chelsea responded well and could have won the game although a draw seemed a fair result on balance. The Blues do not look like they are firing on all cylinders and although it would take a 6 point swing in Tottenham's favour for them to fail to qualify for the Champions League I don't believe fourth place in the table is where they envisaged being at the end of the season.
The Arsenal experiment has failed and there is a real danger that Manchester City could overhaul them by the end of the campaign and finish in 2nd. On too many occasions the Gunners have failed to beat opposition that they would normally expect to beat comfortably. In the past the accusation has been that they are too soft away from home whereas this season their most damaging results have come at the Emirates. While United have only dropped 2 points at home all season Arsenal fans have endured draws with Blackburn, Sunderland and Man City, defeat to West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United and add to this away draws at West Brom, Wigan and Newcastle (the latter after leading 4-0 at half-time) and this is where the damage has been done to their aspirations rather than defeats by Manchester United, Tottenham or Aston Villa.
It has been the same old story this season as Arsenal somehow contrived to lose any chance of winning a trophy. Outmuscled by Birmingham, Outplayed by Barcelona and undone by Manchester United they tumbled out of 3 cup competitions in a month and now their title ambitions have taken a fatal blow. Arsenal need to inject the steel and killer instinct into his side that Ferguson has into United, a belief that they can win every game regardless of how the opponents play. It is something that made Mourinho successful at Chelsea and that Wenger inherited from George Graham's players that he left behind at Arsenal.
Considering the fact that Manchester United drew 5 of their first 8 league games this season the fact that they are now 7 points clear is testament to the fact that unlike their challengers they have taken advantage of others slip-ups and if they win their 19th title (which is looking increasingly likely) take advantage of a good chance to lift the FA Cup (assuming they can see off Man City which won't be easy) and can achieve a 3rd Champions League for Ferguson that truly will be something special.