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Chelsea clip Man United, Arsenal back in title race

Published:Sunday | April 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Chelsea's Joe Cole (right) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's first goal during their English Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, yesterday. Chelsea won 2-1. - AP


Chelsea replaced Manchester United at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford yesterday while an injury-time winner by Nicklas Bendtner put Arsenal back in title contention with a 1-0 triumph over Wolves.

Joe Cole's audacious flick gave Chelsea the lead in the 20th minute. Substitute Didier Drogba made it 2-0 in the 79th, although the Ivory Coast striker looked well offside when he collected Salomon Kalou's pass.

Federico Macheda replied two minutes later but Chelsea hung on to complete a league double over United this season and move two points ahead at the top of the standings.

"It was an important victory because we won at the home of a strong team," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "Unfortunately, nothing is decided yet and we have to stay focused."

Man United manager Alex Ferguson admitted Chelsea were now the title favourites.

"Chelsea are favourites now, there's no question," Ferguson said. "Five games left and they are two points ahead, four goals difference better than us. They are in the driving seat."

Chelsea have 74 points, United 72 and third-place Arsenal have 71 after a late winner over lowly Wolves at Emirates Stadium.

Wolves, unbeaten in four previous games, looked set for a point even though defender Karl Henry was sent off in the 66th minute for an ugly foul on Tomas Rosicky.


But substitute Bendtner header the winner from Bacary Sagna's cross to keep his team within three points of Chelsea and one of United.

"It's kept us well in the title race," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose team travels to Barcelona in a Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday. "For us, it was important to forget Barcelona for 24 hours and focus on today's game and that was not easy.

"At the end of the day, we left it late, as many other times, but overall we deserved to win the game."

Manchester City scored three goals in the first seven minutes and led 5-0 at half-time on the way to a 6-1 victory at next-to-last Burnley to replace Tottenham in fourth place.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice and other goals came from Craig Bellamy, Carlos Tevez, Patrick Vieira and Vincent Kompany before Steven Fletcher replied for Burnley.

In the race for the fourth Champions League spot, City now leads Tottenham by one point with Liverpool and Aston Villa both five points behind.

Tottenham went down 3-1 at Sunderland with former Spurs striker Darren Bent scoring twice and missing two penalties, and Aston Villa won 1-0 at Bolton. Liverpool are not in action until they visit Birmingham on Sunday.

Down at the foot of the standings, Portsmouth were held 0-0 at home by Blackburn and are all but relegated. But Hull tumbled 2-0 at Stoke, with Ricardo Fuller and Liam Lawrence scoring for the home side.

In today's other games, 17th-place West Ham visit Everton and Fulham host Wigan.

Top of the League Championship, Newcastle came from behind to win 3-2 at last-place Peterborough to move even closer to promotion to the top flight.

With third-place Nottingham Forest losing further ground after a 1-1 draw at Bristol City, Newcastle need only a point from tomorrow's game at home to Sheffield United to recapture a place in the Premier League.