Another late goal in Manchester prevented Chelsea from claiming some priceless spoils as they continue to struggle in their bid to squeeze the life out of the Premier League title race.
Few would be bold enough to oppose the Blues’ tiny 2/5 to hoist the top-tier crown, but this is more down to the inferiority of the competition, not their own imperiousness alone.
Manchester City were considered their only realistic rivals to land the richest domestic prize on offer at the start of the season and the Citizens’ incessant bumbling as they bid to keep pace allows Jose Mourinho’s men to prise open their lead at the summit inch by inch with every passing weekend.
Had Chelsea prevented Robin van Persie from equalising in stoppage time at Old Trafford though, City would find themselves a chunky eight points in arrears, while were it not for Frank Lampard’s 85th-minute leveller at the Etihad the deficit could be as bulky as 11.
But who or what is to blame for their early-season inability to seal important deals?
Simply put, Mourinho.
Chelsea’s second-half showing at the Theatre of Dreams was exceptional; they were dominating proceedings and may well have scored more than the one they did.
With everything running smoothly then, why completely disrupt the momentum of the team by taking Oscar off and introducing John Obi Mikel?
Sure, the Nigerian is a more astute defender than his Brazilian counterpart, but the Blues didn’t need to baton down the hatches, they were coping just fine.
Had they scored one more the game was finished and they stood a much greater chance of doing so with Oscar on the field and Mikel off it.
Their Man City stalemate painted a similar picture.
Mikel was introduced just three minutes prior to the Citizens being reduced to ten men.
When Andre Schurrle scored five minutes after that, why were the west Londoners not looking to utilise their one-man advantage to score a second, game-killing goal?
Saturating pressure took precedent over springing counterattacks and the likes of Oscar and Loic Remy sat on the bench while two holding-midfielders attempted, fruitlessly, to see the result out.
When Chelsea are crowned champions at the end of the season, this nit-picking article will appear nothing other than a minor quibble, but consistently squandering vital leads is making life harder for the Blues and this could prove detrimental to their bid to win multiple competitions.