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Man Utd seal title as Chelsea draw at Arsenal
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May 06, 2007 22:45 IST
Last Updated: May 07, 2007 09:44 IST

Manchester United won the Premier League for the first time in four years on Sunday as 10-man Chelsea, needing victory to keep the title race alive, could only draw 1-1 at Arsenal.

The result, coming a day after United beat Manchester City 1-0, left Alex Ferguson's side seven points clear of Chelsea with two games remaining.

 Arsenal led with a 43rd-minute Gilberto penalty after Chelsea centre back Khalid Boulahrouz brought down Julio Baptista and was sent off.

Michael Essien's glancing header with 20 minutes remaining gave Chelsea hope and led to a furious late assault.

However, they were unable to find the second goal and now instead of Wednesday's Stamford Bridge meeting with United being a title decider it will become merely a handover ceremony.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho congratulated United and said he was proud of his team, emphasising the season was far from over as they could still win the FA Cup to add to the League Cup they have already won.

"Maybe I'm prouder today than when we were champions ... because my players are heroes. I think they did it brilliantly. The season is not over, we have a final to play. The season for me was magnificent," he told Sky Sports.

Manchester United manager Ferguson said that despite being in the running for other silverware this season, winning the league title had been the priority.

"Some years ago I used to always have an obsession with winning in Europe but I think that's been overtaken by the demands of the Premier League because I think it's the highest league in Europe now and to win it is a big big achievement," he told Sky Sports.

The draw leaves Arsenal level with third-placed Liverpool on 67 points but behind on goal difference. Both sides are already assured of a place in the qualifying round of the Champions League.


 Chelsea, who beat Arsenal 2-1 in a stormy League Cup final in February, had beaten them away in the league only once in 17 years while the Gunners had suffered only one league defeat at the Emirates Stadium this season, to West Ham United.

However, in a game they had to win they were without 31-goal striker Didier Drogba, a late absentee with an ankle injury, as well as Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack.

Without their chief target man Chelsea were forced to play a more intricate build-up as diminutive duo Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole tried to create openings for the often isolated Salomon Kalou.

Arsenal also attempted to fashion an opening with their familiar short, sharp passes but the breakthrough came with a simple length-of-the field punt by goalkeeper Jens Lehmann which Boulahrouz misjudged.

As he scrambled back to try to regain ground on Baptista he brought the Brazilian down in the box and a red card brought his first appearance for seven weeks to a premature end.

Gilberto dispatched the penalty - virtually the only shot on target from either side in the half - and Chelsea's hopes of a third successive championship were just about over.

Arsenal initially took control after the break but Emmanuel Adebayor and William Gallas missed good chances, allowing Chelsea back into the game.


In their first sustained attack of the second half Wright-Phillips clipped in a near-post cross that the tireless Essien, escaping from his enforced defensive role, expertly glanced in.

The goal lifted Chelsea and, after Alexandr Hleb had blown another great opportunity for Arsenal, they piled on the pressure.

Essien shot just wide on the turn, Frank Lampard missed his kick with the goal beckoning and, in the 90th minute, Lehmann saved well from Kalou, who should have scored.

Eight days ago Chelsea were dreaming of an unprecedented quadruple but, after being knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals by Liverpool on Tuesday they now have only the May 19 FA Cup final against United to try for a double.


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