EPL: United Inch Closer To The Title




Premier League

Premier League

Manchester United moved within a point of a record title with a comprehensive 2-1 victory over challengers and defending champions Chelsea at Old Trafford. The victory moved United to 76 points, 6 points clear of the Blues with two games left to play which all but assures them of their 19th league title.

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After being rested for the game against Schalke in midweek, Sir Alex Ferguson brought back his star players for the big game which was billed as the title decider. While Rooney took back his place up front while Giggs, Park, Carrick, Vidic and Ferdinand all returned to the starting lineup. John O’ Shea kept his place at right back ahead of Rafael while Fabio played at left back.

If United needed to put Chelsea under pressure, they needed an early goal but Ferguson himself must never have expected a goal to come inside the first minute. An incisive pass from Park beyond the reach of the outstretched Luiz found Hernandez who held his nerve and slotted it beyond Cech! United 1, Chelsea 0 and the game was hardly 40 seconds old. That goal seemed to have boosted United’s confidence and Rooney let fly another shot that forced Cech into a dive. Chelsea were dumbfounded by this attacking display by the Red Devils as Rooney collected a pass from Valencia and shot just wide of the post.

They were finally rewarded from a corner in the 23rd minute. Giggs wonderful cross was headed down by Vidic into the back of the net. 2-0! The United supporters were already celebrating as if they had won the title. Chelsea responded in style as Van Der Sar was kept busy – first palming a header by Kalou before diving to deny Drogba, who was selected of Torres. Ivanovic was lucky to not get sent off after a rash tackle on Rooney and United finished the half with Valencia smashing over the top.

The second half began in dramatic fashion as Lampard handled Valencia’s cross in the penalty area but referee Howard Webb waved off United’s appeals for a penalty. It was desperation times for Ancelotti who introduced Torres at the hour mark as Chelsea looked for a way to get back in the game. The reaction was almost immediate though Torres had no part to play in it. Ramires’ cross goalwards was nodded down by Ivanovic and Lampard scored from close range.

The two goal advantage was almost immediately restored as Hernandez cut back for Rooney and the ball only needed a tap-in but Alex came out of nowhere to make a goal line clearance. The score remained 2-1 leaving United with a nervous 25 minutes to hang on to their advantage.

Chelsea pressed hard but it was United who came close time and again and Rooney should have sealed it when he spurned 3 chances in the space of a minute. Hernandez came close when he headed Valencia’s cross over the bar as Chelsea were left helpless. Torres almost salvaged a point for Chelsea with a minute left as he took a shot inside the box. But the former Liverpudlian could only drag it wide as United, much to the relief of their supporters, clinched all three points as they knock on the doorstep of yet another Premiership crown.

The formalities could be completed next week when they travel to Ewood Park with a draw sufficient to give them the title and make them the most successful club in England’s history.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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