Manchester United beat Chelsea to close gap on leaders
Manchester United made a huge statement of their English Premier League title intentions on Sunday when they beat Chelsea 3-0 at Old Trafford to cut the gap on leaders Liverpool to five points.
Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov scored the goals as champions United moved back to third, one point behind Chelsea and five points behind Liverpool, with two games in hand on both.
Chelsea could have gone to within one point of Liverpool with victory but they were second-best throughout.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardoi Carvalho were among several players booked in a high-tempo first half, which looked set to stay scoreless until a dramatic last minute.
Ronaldo thought he had headed his side in front when he nodded the ball into the net from a Ryan Giggs corner, but the free kick had to be retaken, and after a flick-on from Berbatov, Vidic headed past Petr Cech.
Chelsea needed to chase the game in the second half but United always looked the more likely to score again and Rooney, who was superb throughout, doubled their lead on 63 minutes with the second goal after a great cross from Patrice Evra.
That was the end of Chelsea’s resistance and United rounded off a successful afternoon when Berbatov arrived unmarked to side-foot home Ronaldo’s free kick three minutes from the end.
United can now cut the gap to just two points by beating Wigan Athletic on Wednesday in one of their two games in hand.
Wigan kept Tottenham Tottenham Hotspur in the relegation zone when they snatched a 1-0 win in Sunday’s early match.
Maynor Figueroa headed Ryan Taylor’s corner past Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes one minute into injury time to register the Latics’ first ever win over their London rivals at the ninth attempt.
The defeat means Harry Redknapp’s side remain third from bottom with 20 points while Wigan stay seventh on 31 points thanks to their sixth win in seven games.© AP 2013