Manchester United blew an excellent opportunity to capitalise on a Chelsea defeat in their Monday night clash against Southampton after drawing 2-2.
But it isn’t the first time this season they have dropped points when looking to fully punish a Chelsea loss.
By conceding a stoppage time equaliser at home to the Saints, it makes it the sixth time in nine games they have failed to win when Chelsea have lost elsewhere.
Marcus Rashford reflects after his Manchester United side conceded a stoppage time equaliser on Monday night against Southampton, denting their hopes of reaching the top four
MD1 11/8: Manchester United 0-4 (A)
MD6 22/9: Liverpool 1-2 (H)
MD13 23/11: Manchester City 1-2 (A)
MD14 30/11: West Ham 0-1 (H)
MD16 7/12: Everton 1-3 (A)
MD17 14/12: Bournemouth 0-1 (H)
MD19 26/12: Southampton 0-2 (H)
MD23 18/1: Newcastle 0-1 (A)
MD26 17/2: Manchester United 0-2 (H)
MD32 1/7: West Ham 2-3 (A)
MD35 11/7: Sheffield United 0-3 (A)
Frank Lampard’s side currently lead the chasing pack for a Champions League spot this term but have stumbled many times, losing 11 matches. No team inside the top nine have lost more.
Of those 11 defeats, two of those were against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
United’s only other victories when Chelsea have been defeated came in June when they strolled to a 3-0 win at Brighton and in December when they won 2-1 at rivals Manchester City and 4-1 against Newcastle United on Boxing Day.
In addition to Monday’s draw with Southampton, they were also held to stalemates against Everton and Aston Villa in December as well as at Sheffield United a month earlier where they fought back from 2-0 to lead late on, only to concede another late equaliser.
Twice this term United have lost on the same matchday as Chelsea, the first being a surprise 2-0 defeat at West Ham in September, while in January, like the majority of the Premier League teams, they left Liverpool with zero points.
In total they have dropped 14 points when Chelsea have lost. Of their rivals for a Champions League place only Leicester have dropped more with 18.
But it is not just United who have stuttered in the race for the top four this term. All their other contenders have also struggled to put together a sustainable run of form in view of trying to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Chelsea lead the way in third place to join Liverpool and Manchester City in the Champions League next season, but have lost 11 times this term – the most inside the top nine – including on Saturday as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United
As it stands with three games to go, 69 points will be enough to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition next season – although that figure is likely to drop.
This is just the second lowest in nine seasons going back to 2011, with Manchester City squeezing into the top four during the 2015-16 campaign with just 66 points.
There is still a chance it could drop further than that and this could be the lowest amount of points required for a top four finish since Everton achieved 61 points 15 years ago.
The top four race which seemingly no one wants to win has been bizarre in other ways. While the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United are familiar faces in the battle, other so-called ‘big six’ teams such as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have barely been able to keep up.
In their place and capitalising on the lower bar entry for the top four have been Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Premier League new boys Sheffield United.
After having a comfortable 14-point gap to rivals for a top four place, Jamie Vardy’s Leicester City now cling on to a Champions League place by goal difference
As it stands with three games to go, Chelsea and Leicester City will be joining Liverpool and Manchester City in the Champions League next term.
Chelsea sit in third place with 60 points just a point ahead of the Foxes on 59 who only lead Manchester United on goal difference.
On 55 points and 54 respectively, Wolves and Sheffield United still have an outside chance of gatecrashing the top four, while Tottenham and Arsenal need mathematical miracles to stand a chance of qualifying.
Tottenham have actually been the best team at profiting from Chelsea defeats, winning eight matches, including at the weekend with a 2-1 victory over north London rivals Arsenal.
HOW RIVALS HAVE FARED WHEN CHELSEA LOSE
11/8: Chelsea 4-0 (H)
22/9: West Ham 0-2 (A)
24/11: Sheff Utd 3-3 (A)
1/12: Aston Villa 2-2 (H)
7/12: Man City 2-1 (A)
15/12: Everton 1-1 (H)
26/12: Newcastle 4-1 (H)
19/1: Liverpool 0-2 (A)
17/2: Chelsea 2-0 (A)
30/6: Brighton 3-0 (A)
13/7: So’ton 2-2 (H)
Points lost: 14
11/8: Wolves 0-0 (H)
21/9: Tottenham 2-1 (H)
23/11: Brighton 2-0 (A)
1/12: Everton 2-1 (H)
8/12: Aston Villa 4-1 (A)
14/12: Norwich 1-1 (H)
26/12: Liverpool 0-4 (H)
19/1: Burnley 1-2 (A)
14/2: Wolves 0-0 (A)
1/7: Everton 1-2 (A)
12/7: B’mouth 1-4 (A)
Points lost: 18
11/8 Leicester 0-0 (A)
22/9: C. Palace 1-1 (A)
23/11: B’mouth 2-1 (A)
1/12: Sheff Utd 1-1 (H)
8/12: Brighton 2-2 (A)
15/12: Tottenham 1-2 (H)
27/12: Man City 3-2 (H)
18/1: So’ton 3-2 (A)
14/2: Leicester 0-0 (H)
27/6: Aston Villa 1-0 (A)
12/7: Everton 3-0 (H)
Points lost: 13
10/8: B’mouth 1-1 (A)
21/9: Everton 2-0 (A)
24/11: Man Utd 3-3 (H)
1/12: Wolves 1-1 (A)
8/12: Norwich City 2-1 (A)
14/12: Aston Villa 2-0 (H)
26/12: Watford 1-1 (H)
18/1: Arsenal 1-1 (A)
9/2: B’mouth 2-1 (H)
2/7: Tottenham 3-1 (H)
11/7: Chelsea 3-0 (H)
Points lost: 10
10/8: Aston Villa 3-1 (H)
21/9: Leicester 1-2 (A)
23/11: West Ham 3-2 (A)
30/11: B’mouth 3-2 (H)
7/12: Burnley 5-0 (H)
15/12: Wolves 2-1 (A)
26/12: Brighton 2-1 (H)
18/1: Watford 0-0 (A)
16/2: Aston Villa 3-2 (A)
2/7: Sheff Utd 1-3 (A)
12/7: Arsenal 2-1 (H)
Points lost: 8
11/8: Newcastle 1-0 (A)
22/9: Aston Villa 3-2 (H)
23/11: So’ton 2-2 (H)
1/12: Norwich 2-2 (A)
9/12: West Ham 3-1 (A)
15/12: Man City 0-3 (H)
26/12: B’mouth 1-1 (A)
18/1: Sheff Utd 1-1 (H)
16/2: Newcastle 4-0 (H)
1/7: Norwich 4-0 (H)
12/7: Tottenham 1-2 (A)
Points lost: 14
Traditional top-four challengers Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have spent much of the Premier League campaign looking up distantly at a Champions League spot
However just six other wins through the rest of their very poor campaign means Spurs have not been inside the top four since September and they have always been playing catch up without much success despite a slight upturn in results under Jose Mourinho following Mauricio Pochettino’s November axing.
Rivals Arsenal have faced a similar season, dropping out of the top four in October under Unai Emery and never being in serious contention since having sacked the Spaniard and replaced him with Mikel Arteta in December following a caretaker spell under Freddie Ljungberg.
Defeat at Spurs on Sunday though was just the second time they have lost on the same matchday as Chelsea, with the previous occasion being at home to Manchester City in December.
The team many are keeping an eye on in the fight for the top four are Leicester who have been in dire form with just two wins from 11 matches since January.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have improved throughout the season and could still snatch a Champions League spot in the table and through the Europa League
Eddie McGoldrick and Sheffield United have been the surprise package in this season’s battle to reach the Champions League
Of Chelsea’s last six defeats, they have taken just two points and they have not fully capitalised on a Blues loss since December when they thumped Aston Villa 4-1 at Villa Park.
They have blown a 14-point gap to Manchester United in just 11 games, and crucially have to face them, Spurs and Sheffield United in their remaining fixtures.
In the Champions League race, the Blades are the only team not to have lost when Chelsea have taken zero points, and have the best record after Spurs with six wins from 11 games, dropping just 10 points when the Blues have been on the backfoot
Wolves too have an impressive record when Chelsea slip-up, and have been more likely to capitalise in recent times. After losing to Tottenham in December, they have won four times on the following five occasions that Chelsea have lost since then.