It was a dramatic Saturday in the Premier League, with both Chelsea and Leicester City notching wins with very late goals. They were the only "big team" and title contender, respectably, in action on a strangely scheduled day, with most of the best games pushed until Sunday.
West Ham United 1-0 Sunderland
Leicester City 1-0 Norwich City
Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa
Watford FC 0-0 AFC Bournemouth
Southampton 1-2 Chelsea
West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Crystal Palace
Chelsea present the case for falling apart completely
Ask any fan if they'd prefer a decent, if slightly disappointing season or one where they're genuinely embarrassing for half a season, then decent for the second half. Most would take the former. But as Chelsea and Manchester United are currently demonstrating, the latter might be preferable.
There hasn't been a week that's gone by this season where United supporters weren't complaining about how boring their team is, and they've taken a non-stop beating from the press. Chelsea, on the other hand, were roundly mocked until Jose Mourinho got fired. Since then, they've been mostly ignored, save for a bit of speculation about who their next manager might be. Their return to form and slow march up the table has been quiet, hardly discussed. Out of the spotlight, they appear to have improved their locker room chemistry, evaluated who they'd like to sell in the summer, and look likely to go into the summer with a plan to build a top four side. While they're going mostly ignored, everyone's taking the piss out of United.
And that brings us to Saturday's game against Southampton, where Chelsea completed a very nice comeback against a good team to record a 2-1 win. They haven't lost in the Premier League in 2016. And, amazingly, they're just five points behind Manchester United.
Chelsea might not pass United in the table, but their supporters will end this season in a much more emotionally stable place than United's. Maybe it's better to get an outright collapse out of the way early in the season than it is to be average for nine months.
Someone might stay up on 33 points
For all the talk of the Premier League being the deepest it's ever been ... y'all, there are a lot of really bad teams. Aston Villa, Sunderland and Norwich City all lost on Saturday, while Bournemouth drew. Right now, 17th placed Norwich are on pace for 33 points, and it would be very surprising to see the next two teams above them -- Swansea City and Bournemouth -- both get to 40.
All of the bottom four have looked so bad at times that it wouldn't be surprising if none of them managed to win two games between now and the end of the season. This relegation battle is extremely tight, and also extremely trash.
We're running out of great things to say about Leicester City
First, Leicester were clearly going to drop off at some point. Then we had to ask if they were real top four contenders. Then we had to ask if they were real title contenders. Now we're at the next stage of denial, where we ask if they're really the favorites. And the answer is yes, because of games like this one.
Now that it's clear to everyone that Leicester are great, teams are playing them differently. They can't burst through disrespectfully open midfields and high lines anymore. Especially at home, against a desperate team like Norwich that would have been very happy to draw 0-0, they have to face the same type of defensive gameplans that Arsenal and Manchester City are faced with every single game.
They didn't get discouraged by how difficult it was to generate quality chances, they adapted their style, they didn't get frustrated, and eventually they produced this winner. Because they are, inexplicably, the actual best team in the Premier League. It's incredible.