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Rediff.com  » Sports » Man United on brink of clinching title after win over Chelsea

Man United on brink of clinching title after win over Chelsea

Last updated on: May 09, 2011 07:43 IST

Manchester United virtually sealed a record 19th English title when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday to move six points ahead of the champions with two matches to play.

United blazed into the lead after only 37 seconds when Javier Hernandez ran on to a pass from Park Ji-sung to score and doubled their advantage with a header from skipper Nemanja Vidic after 23 minutes.

Frank Lampard pulled one back for Chelsea after 69 minutes but United continued to dominate and create chances and held on for a deserved and precious victory.

With Arsenal's last lingering hopes of the title ending in a 3-1 defeat at Stoke City, United are all but home with 76 points, compared to Chelsea's 70.

Javier Hernandes celebrates with RooneyUnited would have to lose their remaining two matches against strugglers Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool with Chelsea beating Newcastle United and Everton for Alex Ferguson's team to be denied surpassing the record they share with Liverpool.

In the day's other key game, Wolverhampton Wanderers improved their chances of staying in the Premier League when they beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in a keenly-fought Black Country derby to pull out of the relegation zone.

United, who beat Chelsea home and away in the Champions League quarter-finals, continued to assert their authority over Carlo Ancelotti's men almost from the kick-off when 37-year-old Ryan Giggs, who was at the heart of most of United's creativity, set up the opening goal.

His clever pass found Park whose ball took the slightest touch off David Luiz to leave Hernandez clear to fire past Petr Cech for his 20th goal in his first season at United.

Giggs also provided the cross for Vidic to power a header home from close range to all but kill off Chelsea's hopes of retaining the title they won last season.

Lampard's goal midway through the second half increased the tension at Old Trafford, but even after that United continued to make the better chances and finished the stronger team.

ARSENAL BEATEN

Arsenal's hopes were completely extinguished when they were well beaten by FA Cup finalists Stoke City.

Goals from Kenwyne Jones, former Gunner Jermaine Pennant and Jon Walters condemned Arsenal to a sixth season without a trophy while Stoke head for the FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium next Saturday in buoyant mood.

Jones scored with a simple chance after 28 minutes when Arsenal's defence, who have struggled to deal with set-pieces all season, allowed him to steal in at a corner and guide the ball home with his chest.

Pennant, who only made 12 appearances for Arsenal in six seasons early in his career, doubled Stoke's lead with a stunning 25-metre strike after running unchallenged at the Arsenal defence. The shot took a slight deflection off Johan Djourou that left goalie Wojciech Szczesny floundering.

Robin van Persie pulled a goal back for Arsenal late on to extend his run of scoring in Premier League away matches to eight but Walters pounced on some soft defending almost immediately to kill of the Gunners.

Wolves kept alive their chances of remaining in the Premier League, capitalising on poor defending by West Brom to score twice in 13 first-half minutes through Stephen Fletcher and Adlene Guedioura before Fletcher added a third after another defensive mistake by Abdoulaye Meite two minutes after halftime.

West Brom, who have climbed to safety after a run of good results since Roy Hodgson took over as coach in February, replied when Peter Odemwingie scored for the fifth successive league match with a 55th-minute penalty after Guedioura tripped Jerome Thomas in the box.

Although they are still far from safe with two games to play, Wolves are now 17th with 37 points, with Blackpool dropping into the bottom three on 36. Wigan Athletic are 19th on 36 and West Ham United bottom with 33.

Source:
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