Premier League roundup: United title defence all but over after defeat at Mourinho’s Chelsea
Manchester United’s title defence of the Premier League was virtually over after they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. A hat-trick from Samuel Eto’o condemned David Moyes to his seventh league defeat, all but ending any hopes of re-claiming the Premier League title.
On Saturday Arsenal maintained their slender lead as league leaders, following a comfortable 2-0 victory over Fulham at the Emirates. With Wenger’s side refusing to give up top-spot, Manchester City had to keep up the chase with victory at home to bottom of the table Cardiff City.
The Citizens ran out 4-2 winners and in the process scored more than 100 goals in the season so far.
Further pressure was put on Sam Allardyce’s West Ham following defeat to former employers Newcastle. Defeat for the Hammers left the bottom three clubs all finely poised on 18 points with 16 games remaining.
Manchester United started Sunday afternoon in seventh place, and seventh is where they would remain following a string of defensive errors that allowed Chelsea to continue their own push for title glory at Stamford Bridge.
The Red Devils started brightly, uncanny for a side that have looked so out of their usual depth at this stage of the season. The early domination would not last long, when Samuel Eto’o fired a speculative effort towards goal, only to take a deflection off Michael Carrick and beyond David De Gea.
United began to look lost without key players Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, who both remain side-lined with injury.
Mourinho’s side further punished sloppy play from Moyes’ team, as Eto’o grabbed his second goal on the stroke of half-time. The Cameroonian swept home a cross-through ball from Gary Cahill, with keeper De Gea getting a strong touch to the ball but one that was not able to stop the former Barcelona star from doubling the home side’s lead.
The game was effectively over in just the 49th minute. It was to be Eto’o that would complete a comfortable afternoon for Chelsea and Mourinho, as he poked home a third to claim Jose Mourinho’s 100th victory in the Premier League.
Mexican striker Javier Hernandez pulled a goal back for the visitors, but their consolation was further over-shadowed by the sending off of Nemanja Vidic in the last minute for a foul deemed reckless enough to give the Serbian his marching orders.
Manchester United sit 14 points behind league leaders Arsenal, with all but David Moyes writing off any chance of retaining their crown.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Arsenal 2 Fulham 0
Chelsea 3 Man Utd 1
Crystal Palace 1 Stoke 0
Liverpool 2 Aston Villa 2
Man City 4 Cardiff 2
Norwich 1 Hull 0
Sunderland 2 Southampton 2
Swansea 1 Spurs 3
WBA 1 Everton 1
West Ham 1 Newcastle 2