A six point gap is nothing in the Premier League so a top four finish is by no means guaranteed for Manchester United, especially as they have dropped points recently. Hopefully they will become more consistent again and secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.
In the Premier League, though, teams from across the table can take points off each other, so nothing is guaranteed in the race for positions.
Man City are in incredible shape with 17 wins in a row – that is some achievement. It’s extremely unlikely that United will be able to catch them but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men need to keep winning and try to improve on last season’s third-place finish.
Chelsea need to be taken seriously
Chelsea are always a force to reckon with. They have been champions of England more recently than United, they have great players and an impressive new manager.
United need to be careful and focused when they go to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, because if they lose the Blues will be within three points of them in the table.
The Red Devils need to prepare well and either win or draw the game, otherwise the gap is getting smaller. It is a big game for both teams and it is different when you play a team like Chelsea. It is about having concentration in that specific 90 minutes so you win the game no matter what.
I hope United win because it will be a great way of saying to Chelsea that we are still better than you. However, every game is different so you never know how these games will play out. Chelsea are in good form at the moment under Tuchel. United are usually very concentrated and motivated against big teams like Chelsea. The concentration factor will be the most important.
These big games are always difficult where you are seeing top players with technical ability and also great defenders who command the pitch. You have to bring your A-game and be ready to compete.
These are the games where you need to show the world what you’re made of. You need to be motivated when you play against Chelsea.
Happy memories of beating the Blues
I scored a couple of goals at Stamford Bridge and had my fair share of winning and losing against Chelsea. We had some great games and I always had battles with John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Ballack. They were great times and you want to play against the best players and be competitive.
Without a doubt the League Cup final at Wembley is one of my best memories. This was where we were playing for a trophy and people were betting on Chelsea winning with Lampard, Cech, Ballack, Drogba, Terry and more. However, I think as a team at Tottenham we felt very confident. I enjoyed a good season as I was in the team of the year. We had to get back into the game as they went 1-0 up and then got the equaliser from the penalty spot before we won in extra time.
It was great to score that penalty against Petr Cech, who was one of the best goalkeepers I played against. You try not to think about it. There were 90,000 people at Wembley, all my family were there and you know if you miss how bad it will be for everybody. I was just so confident in myself and my ability so it was easy for me not to think about the negatives. I just concentrated and told myself this was this moment to shine and it was at the Spurs end, so it made it more special seeing our fans erupt behind the goal.
Tuchel is stamping his mark on Chelsea
Tuchel has been putting his own stamp on this Chelsea side, and you can see it with his team selections and the changes he makes. You sympathise with Callum Hudson-Odoi and the situation he was in, because it is not a pleasant experience for any player to go through something like this.
I have played in Germany where they are strict and disciplined. I’m sure he didn’t try to humiliate Callum – it was purely based on the player’s attitude and if that attitude was not beneficial for the team then he is going to change it. Callum played from the beginning and performed well against Atletico Madrid, so he’s take on board the message to the team that Tuchel demands 100% from his players.
Giroud’s great goal shows he’s the ultimate pro
Olivier Giroud scored a crucial and unbelievable goal for Chelsea against Ateltico and he is proving to be the ultimate professional. I can’t believe it took VAR so long to let the goal stand as it was clear an Atletico player touched the ball last. Giroud improvised brilliantly, showing the quality of his centre-forward’s quick decision making.
Sometimes for a player those acrobatic goals are easy, sometimes it looks easy and in the case of Giroud, he has scored acrobatic goals before. He was just able to react quickly and do everything right with his technique. It probably comes easy for him in a way which I admire and it looks amazing. For me, his quick reaction to the situation which was unfolding was brilliant. It was an amazing goal.
Shola Shoretire must seize his chance
It is a great moment for a player at 17 to make his debut at Old Trafford. He must have shown something in training and the youth teams which made that happen. He has made the first step and now the difficult thing is to show Ole and the coaching staff that he can back that up. He has to prove he belongs there. He just needs to keep pushing and show himself in the eyes of the coaching staff.
In Shola’s situation, you must train like your life depends on it. You need to show everyone that you are here and are waiting for your moment. You should never take your eyes away from the prize.
People come up to me and say: “I remember watching you when I was little.” It always makes me think about how many years have passed and how old I am. Now I realise I had played in a Champions League final before Shoretire was born! However, for Shola he is at Manchester United and he just needs to keep it up.
What is going on at Tottenham?
It was disappointing to see Spurs lose again but it was not an embarrassing defeat to West Ham given how they are playing now. Tottenham are a bigger team and should have been the favourites, but this campaign West Ham are playing great football. They fully deserve to be where they are.
I don’t want to say it is the same story with Spurs all the time, but it kind of is. They have good games and play good football, but all of a sudden something happens and they go into a dip which leads them to drop down the table.
Their form is really concerning. They now have bad momentum but at least they have the League Cup final to prepare for as that could save their season.
It is a big ask for them to finish in the top four now. You cannot write them off completely in the Premier League, as teams can return to form, but it is going to be challenging for them. That dip in form is the problem where they start losing points.
Mourinho said recently that he will be remembered for good things at Spurs. Is he going somewhere? It seems premature to be talking about that. The critics are coming for him at the moment but they are forgetting that he is one of the most successful managers of the last two decades. When you know you have won so much, even if you haven’t produced as much in the last couple of years, you still carry your pride, ego and respect for what you have done in football.
People forget about Mourinho’s achievements and then he starts to defend himself. However, I don’t think we should be talking about remembering him yet if he is not going anyway. Hopefully he will stay at Spurs.