The story of Chelsea’s last two Premier League title wins contain a common thread - both of those successes were gained in part due to crucial wins over last night’s opponents Bolton Wanderers.
No Chelsea fan will ever forget that April day at the Reebok in 2005 when a Frank Lampard brace secured the Blues’ first league title in 50 years.
The following season Chelsea again won 2-0 at the same stadium, a result that all but secured the Premier League with Manchester United having drawn 0-0 with Sunderland the day before.
Last night’s 1-0 success could prove just as crucial.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men needed a victory to go four points clear at the top, and they did so thanks to a first half strike from Nicolas Anelka, his first goal since January.
Chelsea now have a slight cushion at the summit, and it appears to be their title to lose.
However, I still think there are some twists and turns left in this title race yet.
The Blues’ performance last night was far from convincing, and Bolton had two very good penalty appeals turned down.
It is often said that this is what champions do - grind out results even when they are not playing well. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea did it on numerous occasions when he was manager.
Tottenham on Saturday, however, will offer a much sterner test, and if Chelsea don’t improve on Tuesday’s showing they could leave White Hart Lane empty handed.
Such a result would blow the title race wide open again, especially if Arsenal win their game in hand against the same opposition this evening.
Then again, Manchester United have a tough looking game against Manchester City on the same day. It is indicative of the nature of this season that a win for the blue half of Manchester would not be considered that great a shock.
What has made this season so thrilling to watch is its sheer unpredictability. As we enter its dying days the destination of the Premier League title remains up for grabs, and one result could change everything.
Is it Chelsea’s title to lose? Did the result against Bolton all but win them the Premier League? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.