Manchester United, Chelsea Win, Arsenal Draw

Another round of Premiership matches has passed by and now the Premiership is back to being a three horse race. A draw for Arsenal along with wins for Chelsea and Man Utd means EPL is heading for tight finish with just 10 games remaining. Chelsea had received a lot of negative coverage in the media following there Carling Cup final loss to Spurs and an immediate response was needed to restore there confidence. Avram Grant who had taken a swipe at the media before the game and he made six changes to the side which lost to spurs. They were top form and in spite of getting Lampard red carded, ended up winning 4 – 0. They started well and they should have been a goal up inside two minutes but Anelka’s goal was incorrectly ruled offside. That didn’t deter Chelsea and soon they took the lead through Lampard penalty after Kalou was fouled by Anton Ferdinand. Three minutes later, Joe Cole’s added a second and the game was over in 22nd minutes when Ballack volleyed in a third after a clever pass from Lampard.

Lampard was sent off in the 36th minute after an altercation with Boa Morte in which he appeared to push the West Ham winger. The West Ham also managed to test Peter Cech on a few occasions after there numerical advantage through Mark Noble. Carlton Cole had a shot cleared of the line by Terry but a goal by Ashley Cole completed an emphatic win which puts them back in the title race and makes it more interesting.

In other results, Manchester United recorded an easy 3 – 0 win over Fulham. Manchester United rested Ronaldo, Rooney and Anderson in view of there champions league match against Lyon in midweek. Owen Hargreaves opened his mark in the Premier League with a well taken free kick from 20 yards in the 15th minute. Even before that, United should have been ahead but Saha who was sent clear by a Scholes pass but he was off target with just Niemi to beat. Even the absence of Ronaldo and Rooney didn’t provide any respite to Fulham as United begin to dominate. Scholes had a header saved by Niemi and Nani shot narrowly wide and it looked United were heading for another big win. But they had to wait for around half time for the second goal which came when Park connected to a Scholes cross through a header.

Even after the break, Fulham failed to create any chanced and there task was made much harder when Ronaldo and Rooney were introduced in the 69th minute. United still dominated and Fulham’s misery was completed when Davies diverted OShea’s cross in his own net. For United, it was another walk in the park but Fulham now faces a test to avoid relegation with just 10 games remaining.

In one of the surprising results of the day, Arsenal was lucky to drew with Aston Villa after a stoppage time goal from Bendtner saved them. Arsenal who were well below par started well with Walcott, who was playing in place of Eduardo tested Carson with a turn and a shot. But Villa responded well and a well time tackle from Gallas prevented Agbonlahor from scoring when clean through on goal. Villa took the lead in the 27th minute when Senderos diverted Agbonlahor’s shot in his own net. Villa could have added a second but Almunia saved superbly from Maloney’s shot. Villa were solid defensively and started hitting Arsenal on the break. After the break, both team had chances but Villa held on. And when it looked as if Villa were heading for a famous victory, Bendtner slotted in from six yards to gain a valuable point for Arsenal which keeps then one point ahead of United in the table and in the first place.

Arsenal’s draw has suddenly made the title race a three horse race with Chelsea, United and Arsenal all in the hunt now. It is good to see some competitiveness in the league after 4-5 years. With just 10 matches remaining and Champions League also approaching, it is a crucial time for the clubs to stay focused.

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