Gimme five: United moves five points clear of Chelsea

London, England (Sports Network) – A dramatic Saturday in England saw Manchester United take a five-point lead on Chelsea in the Premiership standings with three matches to play, putting the Blues’ hopes of a third consecutive EPL crown in serious doubt.

United pulled off an improbable 4-2 comeback win at Goodison Park against Everton, while Chelsea was held on home soil 2-2 by Bolton.

Early on it looked as though the day would belong to Chelsea as the Blues built a 2-1 advantage at halftime while United fell behind 1-0 at the break. Lubomir Michalik scored his first EPL goal of the season for Bolton, but Chelsea quickly canceled out the advantage as Salomon Kalou scored three minutes later to level the match, and a Jussi Jaaskelainen own-goal in the 34th minute handed the home side the lead.

Chelsea supporters were in a celebratory mood early in the second half as word circulated that United had gone behind by two goals as Everton’s Manuel Fernandes gave the Toffees a two-goal lead with 40 minutes to play.

It looked as though this would be the day that Chelsea finally caught United and made it an even race over the final three games. However, that joy quickly turned to nervousness as Kevin Davies headed home a free kick from Idan Tal in the 54th minute to level the match.

Meanwhile, bad went to worse for the London club as United began its furious second-half rally in the 61st as John O’Shea poked home a rebound from close range and a Phil Neville own-goal just seven minutes later allowed United to pull level.

Back at Stamford Bridge, the pressure was mounting but Chelsea supporters still held out hope that their team would snatch another late winner as they have so many times throughout this season.

Chelsea threatened on a pair of occasions with 25 minutes remaining. Didier Drogba sent a free kick from 20-yards out menacingly close as his shot blazed just over the cross bar, and Michael Essien drove a free kick through the face of goal that came within inches of connecting with a Chelsea foot.

Bolton seemed content to play for a draw and allowed Chelsea to bring the game to them over the final 15 minutes.

While the Blues were desperately searching for a winner, United had no such trouble finding the net. Wayne Rooney continued his stellar run of play with the go-ahead goal against his former club in the 79th minute as an O’Shea cross found the young Englishman and he finished off the play by slotting his shot into the lower left corner.

Looks of shock were all around Stamford Bridge when news of Rooney’s strike reached the Chelsea supporters and no matter how much they encouraged their team, a late winner was not in the cards.

Chris Eagles added an insurance tally in the 90th minute for United, and the Red Devils now look to be in position to claim their first EPL title since the 2002-03 campaign.

In other EPL action on Saturday, Blackburn thrashed Charlton 4-1 behind two goals from Jason Roberts, Aston Villa blanked Manchester City 2-0, Robbie Keane scored twice to lead Tottenham to a 3-2 win over Middlesbrough, while Portsmouth got past Liverpool 2-1. Sheffield United earned a big 1-0 win over Watford to move three points clear of the relegation zone and West Ham pounded Wigan 3-0 to move within one point of safety.

Sunday’s lone contest features another relegation-battling team as Fulham faces a tough task in meeting Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The weekend rounds out on Monday as Reading hosts Newcastle.


  • Teddy Bear Tom

    I’m glad United won & Chelsea just tied. I love United! Those guys are just dreamy 🙂

  • giova * * * *

    I have the feeling United will lose in Milan. I feel much better about Milans chances of getting to the finals than I did with Roma.

  • Santiago

    Ah, I wouldn’t count United out just yet. I think they are going there with a sound game plan. Though it’s tough to go to Italy to play as it’s a very hostile envirorment to play in. All they really have to do is mark Kaka & keep him in check as he is the only threat Milan has up front that I have seen so far. In the back Milan doesn’t really impress me much. United pretty much swarmed them non-stop & Milan didn’t seem to have an answer for it. This game’s actually a toss up as far as I’m concerned but don’t write off United just yet. I think they have at least a little life left in them.

  • Stanley

    Yes I agree. The main thing that’s bad about this up coming game is it’s being played in Italy. It’s even hostile for Italain teams to play other Italian teams in Italy. So I’m sure United is in for a rough ride there. Dispite that I call it dead even also. It will depend on a number of factors of course but I don’t think United is out of the picture just yet. I mean they were down to Milan in the first game & came back & Milan is no average team. Everybodys’ focus so far in CL is to stop United’s Ronaldo & all that’s really done is free up Rooney which of course has resulted in goals for Rooney. All this talk by that simple minded idiot Sheva about Kaka being better than Ronaldo is quite funny. What a lot of people are not seeing is Rooney is just as good as Kaka if not better. He sure matched him blow for blow in the first game & Kaka I think knew it. All aside it should be a good game.

  • Jay

    well done ManU. I also think that the game in Milan is a toss up. Milan might have home advantage but we are a goal up. It is better to go there with a goal ahead that to go needing a win. I think Vidic and Rio will be back for this one and if thats so, we should be fine (assuming they are fit to play). We need to play Wes and Fletcher. Have Wes mark Kaka and use a 3 man midfield with Giggs on the bench.

  • Ghost Rider

    United prove again, twice in one week, that you have to play for 90 minutes to beat them, not 45. Any team that plays them cannot afford to switch off for 20 to 30 minutes or United will make them pay.

  • Revelian S. N

    Stanley you are right, Rooney is now looking better than Kaka but Ronaldo is the best.