Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Chelsea celebrate a key win at Old Trafford that takes them two points clear at the top
Joe Cole's neat flick gave Chelsea an early lead that was doubled after substitute Didier Drogba scored a breakaway goal from a clear offside position in the 79th minute. When another sub in Kiko Macheda scored two minutes later with a possible handball, a grandstand finish was expected from United but never materialised.
To say United missed Wayne Rooney would seem obvious but this was an underpar performance from Sir Alex Ferguson's side and Chelsea continued the professionalism they have shown since their Champions League exit to Inter Milan.
Arsenal meanwhile, were made to wait for three points to keep them in the title race when Nicklas Bendtner scored a header in the 95th minute from a Bacary Sagna cross to claim a 1-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves will bemoan a Karl Henry sending-off that looked harsh but Arsenal had dominated possession despite being shorn of Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas and Andrey Arshavin and kept pushing to the very last whistle.
Tottenham Hotspur's challenge for the much-coveted fourth place and qualification for the Champions League may have been dashed on the rocks of a troubling 3-1 defeat to Sunderland. Darren Bent scored the expected goal against his old club and then doubled Sunderland's advantage from the penalty spot.
However, he was twice granted the chance to again score from the spot but Heurelho Gomes twice saved his attempts. Bent was to have another goal chalked off in a further denial of his chances of getting a hat-trick. Peter Crouch scored with 18 minutes to play but a Bolo Zenden 86th strike took the game beyond Tottenham's reach.
Aston Villa belied the midweek rumour-mongering about the future of Martin O'Neill with a 1-0 win at Bolton Wanderers. Ashley Young scored a rare goal for the Villans as they were able to take advantage of Spurs' slip. A bad-tempered affair but a win for O'Neill's men will have gone some way to soothe the pain of last week's 7-1 loss at Chelsea.
In the end, Manchester City were the team able to seize the initiative with a 6-1 thumping of sorry Burnley. City were four goals up after twenty minutes after strikes from Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Carlos Tevez and Patrick Vieira. Adebayor made it a 5-0 lead at half-time - a Premier League record.
Though many Clarets fans had departed the scene, a sizeable majority sang throughout and, after a Vincent Kompany header made it 6-0 the consolation strike from Steven Fletcher received a rapturous response. Burnley remain as deep in relegation trouble as the puddles of water that at one point seemed likely to lead to abandonment of the pitch.
Hull City will need all Iain Dowie's famed "bouncebackability" after a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City that handed West Ham a lifeline in the battle to stay in the division. The Hammers play Everton on Sunday but will be lifted by goals from Ricardo Fuller and Liam Lawrence that kept Hull in the relegation zone.
That result at the Brittania Stadium means that Portsmouth are staying up - for now. Their 0-0 draw with Blackburn Rovers was achieved despite the sending off of Anthony Vanden Borre for two bookable offences.