Man U look to halt Chelsea's title march
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Manchester United's resurgence in the Premier League will be given the ultimate test when the team heads to Stamford Bridge tomorrow bidding to halt Chelsea's march to the title.
The league trophy is looming into view for Chelsea, who are seven points clear with a game in hand and need 12 points from their last seven games. That seemingly is a formality given Chelsea are unbeaten since January 1 and have developed a knack of winning games without playing at their best.
Chelsea's next two games are against United and Arsenal,
the nearest challengers to the leaders and the two in-form teams in the country.
For those looking for a late twist to the title race, it's now or never.
United have won their last six games - including victories against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City - so are playing well enough to cause an upset this weekend, when two of football's great tacticians go head to head. JosÈ Mourinho was given his break in management by United manager Louis van Gaal when he worked as an assistant to the Dutchman at Barcelona from 1997-2000.
If United become the first team to beat Chelsea in the league at Stamford Bridge this season, it would move Van Gaal's team above Arsenal and into second place. Arsenal are playing in the FA Cup semi-finals against second-tier club Reading in a game at Wembley Stadium that runs concurrently to Chelsea-Man United.
The other semi-final match sees Liverpool take on Aston Villa, also at Wembley on Sunday.
MAN CITY'S BLUES
Man City were level on points with Chelsea on January 1 and perfectly placed for a shot at defending its title. Three and a half months later, the champions are stuttering in fourth place with four losses in their last six league games and doubts growing over whether they can even stay in the Champions League places.
City are four points above fifth-place Liverpool heading into a home match against West Ham on Sunday.
Another loss - against a side with just one win since mid-January - could have dire consequences for City manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose position is under even greater scrutiny
following Juergen Klopp's announcement on Wednesday that he will be ending his seven-year spell with Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.
SHOT AT HISTORY
Arsenal and Liverpool avoided each other in the draw for the FA Cup semi-finals - and Arsenal definitely got the better end of the deal.
While Liverpool must face a Villa team revitalised under manager Tim Sherwood, titleholder Arsenal play a side that is in 18th place in the 24-team League Championship and is appearing in the last four of England's biggest cup competition for the first time since 1927.
Reading's only win in the past month was their 3-0 victory over third-tier club Bradford in a quarter-final replay.
"It is a chance for us to give a little bit of excitement to the town, to the supporters who have had a difficult season," said Reading manager Steve Clarke, who was an assistant to Mourinho at Chelsea. "Reading have never played in an FA Cup final, so these players have a chance to make history. What an incentive!"