Goals from Joe Cole and substitute Didier Drogba fired Chelsea FC to a 2-1 victory over Manchester United FC at Old Trafford which lifted the Londoners two points clear of their opponents at the Premier League summit.
Chelsea, unlike United, were not in action in midweek and were rewarded for a vibrant opening with a goal after 20 minutes. Florent Malouda drove infield from the left touchline, held off the attentions of Darren Fletcher and from the byline pulled the ball back for Cole, who flicked it cleverly into the far corner. Without the injured Wayne Rooney, the Red Devils struggled to fashion anything off note and despite mounting pressure on the visitors' goal after the restart, it was Chelsea who doubled their lead, Drogba (79) finishing powerfully from Salomon Kalou's pass.
Sir Alex Ferguson's team ensured there would be an exciting finale when, just moments later, Nani's cutback was palmed by Petr Čech on to fellow United substitute Federico Macheda and into the net. They could not force an equaliser, however, and now lie a solitary point clear of Arsenal FC, who moved back within three points of Chelsea courtesy of a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, who had captain Karl Henry dismissed on 66 minutes. Substitute Nicklas Bendtner headed the decider four minutes into added time from Bacary Sagna's cross.
Meanwhile, Darren Bent scored twice – his second a penalty – and had another two spot-kicks saved against former club Tottenham Hotspur FC as Sunderland AFC won 3-1. Bent's first came after 34 seconds at The Stadium of Light as Tottenham slumped to a loss that allowed Manchester City FC to replace them in fourth with a 6-1 stroll at Burnley FC in the late kick-off. The visitors were three up after seven minutes.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa won 1-0 at Bolton Wanderers FC thanks to Ashley Young's early strike, Stoke City FC defeated relegation-threatened Hull City AFC 2-0 and Portsmouth FC drew 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers FC.
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|Last updated: 03/07/2011 03:02 CET|
Brunt 62 (p), 88 (p)
|Venue: West Bromwich|
Bent 47, 68
|West Ham||2-4||Man. United|
Noble 11 (p), 25 (p)