Chelsea win at Man City puts pressure on Man Utd
Chelsea closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester United to two points after winning 2-0 at Manchester City today.
A Richard Dunne own goal and Salomon Kalou’s second-half effort were enough for Grant’s side to maintain their dogged title challenge.
Chelsea’s victory gave them 74 points from 33 matches and means the pressure will be on United when they travel to Middlesbrough for their game in hand on Sunday.
“I don’t know if I will be watching United (on television) tomorrow but I know what result I want,” said Chelsea manager Avram Grant.
Arsenal, meanwhile, suffered another blow to their title hopes after drawing 1-1 at home against Liverpool to sit five points off the pace.
Peter Crouch fired Liverpool ahead before halftime and, although Nicklas Bendtner headed the equaliser, Arsenal’s chase of United now looks forlorn.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had to work hard for victory after Dunne turned City old boy Nicolas Anelka’s cross into his own goal on six minutes.
Kalou gave them breathing space when he rounded keeper Joe Hart to slot home in the 53rd.
Anelka, who has not scored for two months, missed a chance when he was put clean through the City defence.
Not just helping Chelsea’s league bid, the win also put the Stamford Bridge club in good heart for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Fenerbahce when they must overturn a 2-1 deficit.
Arsenal and Liverpool both made several team changes after their 1-1 draw in the Champions League on Wednesday, a result that made the Merseysiders favourites to go through after the second leg at Anfield.
Crouch was given a rare start by manager Rafael Benitez, who opted to leave Fernando Torres on the bench, and the tall England striker sparkled.
He forced Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia into an athletic save in the opening exchanges and then played in John Arne Riise but the Norwegian failed to hit the target.
Bendtner, in for top scorer Emmanuel Adebayor, wasted a good chance for Arsenal before Crouch struck to put Liverpool in front after escaping the attentions of William Gallas.
Cesc Fabregas was the provider for Arsenal’s goal nine minutes after the break, Bendtner heading in his free kick.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sent on Adebayor in a desperate attempt to snatch the points but Liverpool could have won it when Andriy Voronin shot over the bar.
“We are disappointed because we dominated the second half and I believe we had a penalty again not given,” said Wenger.
“With our situation in the table a victory was needed.”
Fulham look like joining bottom club Derby County through the relegation trapdoor after losing 3-1 at home to Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers’s survival chances also diminished after a 4-0 hammering at Aston Villa.
Birmingham City remain just above the bottom three after losing 2-0 at fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic.
Newcastle United picked up a third consecutive win to end their relegation worries, beating Reading 3-0 with Socceroos striker Mark Viduka scoring his seventh goal of the season.
Blackburn Rovers drew 1-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
Fulham have 24 points from 33 games with Bolton on 26. Birmingham have a four-point cushion on the bottom three, with Reading two points above.
Brief reports of English Premier League matches played on Saturday:
ARSENAL 1 LIVERPOOL 1
The second of three matches in seven days between the sides was more satisfying for Liverpool. Peter Crouch rewarded Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez for a starting berth with a fine opener shortly before halftime.
Arsenal, who needed a win to keep their title hopes alive, levelled through Nicklas Bendtner’s powerful header but they could not turn their late possession into chances.
Andriy Voronin should have won the game for Liverpool but shot over the bar with a late chance.
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ASTON VILLA 4 BOLTON WANDERERS 0
Aston Villa ended their barren spell with an emphatic victory that leaves Bolton heading for relegation and gives Villa an outside chance of Europe.
Gareth Barry gave Villa an early lead and grabbed a second goal after Gabriel Agbonlahor had doubled Villa’s lead. Marlon Harewood completed the rout late on to leave Bolton without a league win for two months.
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BLACKBURN ROVERS 1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1
Mid-table Tottenham restored some pride after last week’s home thrashing by Newcastle with a much improved display to dent Blackburn’s UEFA Cup qualification hopes.
Dimitar Berbatov tapped Spurs in front after seven minutes following a neat move and cross from Jermaine Jenas.
Morten Gamst Pedersen equalised for Rovers against the run of play on the half hour after good wing play by Darren Bentley.
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FULHAM 1 SUNDERLAND 3
Sunderland virtually assured their Premier League survival with a victory that leaves Fulham staring at relegation.
Danny Collins headed Sunderland in front just before halftime and substitute Michael Chopra lobbed a second. David Healy gave Fulham a glimmer of hope after 74 minutes but that was snuffed out immediately when Kenwyne Jones struck.
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MANCHESTER CITY 0 CHELSEA 2
Chelsea kept up their dogged pursuit of Manchester United with an 11th away win in the league. They were gifted an opener when City defender Richard Dunne turned Nicolas Anelka’s cross into his own net.
City had a few chances to level but Salomon Kalou doubled Chelsea’s lead when he went round City keeper Joe Hart after the break to slot in. Anelka should have got on the scoresheet when he went through with only Hart to beat.
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NEWCASTLE UNITED 3 READING 0
After flirting with the relegation zone, Newcastle suddenly cannot stop winning.
Obafemi Martins put them in front and Michael Owen was on target to give Newcastle a rather flattering 2-0 halftime lead.
It was Owen’s fourth goal in four games.
The hosts dominated after the break and Mark Viduka sealed a third consecutive victory with a neat finish.
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© Reuters 2014
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2 BIRMINGHAM CITY 0
Ryan Taylor scored both goals to ease Wigan away from trouble and leave City sweating.
Taylor converted a cross by Antonio Valencia in the first half before Birmingham were handicapped by a red card for Damien Johnson. Taylor killed off Birmingham after the break with a close-range effort.