Chelsea were 10 points ahead of the second placed Tottenham when the International break started in the middle of March and fans were expecting them to increase the lead to 13 by winning against bottom table side Crystal Palace easily. On the other hand Manchester United were expected to go near top 4 with a win against West Bromwich Albions at home. But surprisingly, both results did not go according to the expectations of the fans. Chelsea made few changes to the team due to injury of Victor Moses and played Pedro in place of him. Fabregas, who has not been the regular starter lately, made the playing XI and started at the right wing.
It looked like a perfect change when Fabregas scored in the fifth minute of the match but things changed quickly and Chelsea conceded two in next 10 minutes to go 1-2 down. They kept trying in next 75 minutes and Diego Costa, Pedro, Hazard came close on many occasions but failed to score.
This was Chelsea’s second loss at home under Antonio Conte, first since losing to Liverpool in September. It was a crucial loss since they have to play Manchester City in four days and also have to play Manchester United and Tottenham this month. Manchester United fans were even more frustrated as they failed to get three points at home and once again could not score at home, thanks to Ben Foster’s crucial saves. Liverpool look like favourites to finish in top 4 now, as they have 59 points after beating their Merseyside rivals Everton 3-1. Although they have played two more games, but other teams in top 5 they to concentrate on other competitions as well, a problem Liverpool do not have. They have another advantage that they are the only team in top 6 that does not have to play a top 6 side in their remaining fixtures.
Defending champions Leicester City, who were at 18th place when their league winning manager Claudio Ranieiri was sacked, have gone up to 13th place after winning fifth match in a row, fourth in the premier league. Their new manager Craig Shakespeare has become first ever British manager to win first four league games as manager. They are surely not going to finish in top 4 but their winning streak may help them in the Champions League Quarterfinal against Atletico Madrid, where they are only English team left in the competition.