Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho reflected on a point gained rather than two dropped after his side shared a goalless draw with title rivals Arsenal.
Few fans whose weekend football betting included Monday’s game at Emirates Stadium would have predicted a 0-0 between two sides with plenty of attacking talent. That is what Arsenal and Chelsea served up on a wet night in north London.
Frank Lampard was denied by the crossbar in the first half, while Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud spurned two good chances in the closing stages.
Opportunities were at a premium and afterwards Mourinho suggested he had set his team up not to lose rather than to go for all three points.
“It’s very important not to lose, because if we lose we are five points behind the leader,” he said.
“And with a point, we are two points behind both leaders. That’s a completely different picture. We tried to win, but we are not unhappy with the point.”
Those two leaders are Liverpool and the Gunners, with Manchester City just one point behind in third and Chelsea two adrift in fourth, level on points with Everton.
City host Liverpool on Boxing Day, meaning victory over Swansea at Stamford Bridge would improve Chelsea’s position ahead of Sunday’s home clash with the Reds.
The title race has been the most competitive in recent memory so far and those who bet on football will have a hard time picking a winner.
Mourinho believes Chelsea are well placed and have made progress since last Christmas, when “the championship was already lost”.
“It is a unique situation, an unbelievable championship because we are all there,” he added.
“We are completely alive, especially if you compare it with this point last season where Chelsea were 11 points behind.”
The good news for Blues fans is Mourinho’s side have not yet found top gear. When they do, it will be difficult to stop them.