Captain John Terry scored the decisive goal as Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea FC beat Manchester United FC 1-0 to pull five points clear of both the titleholders and Arsenal FC at the Premier League summit.
Leaders Chelsea and third-placed United sandwiched Arsenal heading into the fixture, knowing that victory for either would leave them top of the pile entering the two-week international break. Ancelotti's men had not conceded at Stamford Bridge in any competition since the opening day of the season but were on the back foot for much of the first half. The champions, however, were unable to convert their sprightliness into chances and were made to pay 14 minutes from time when Terry met fellow England international Frank Lampard's free-kick with a header that beat Edwin van der Sar.
"It was significant to send United five points behind us – this is important – and it means we have won a game against one of the most important teams in England," Ancelotti said. "But we must retain our concentration. I hope the players return from the international break in good condition and that we continue as we are. We've only played 12 games and we know very well the season is long and we have to maintain our good condition, a good mind and good performances. Today was a little step but it's a long season."
Hull City AFC and West Ham United FC enjoyed contrasting days at the other end of the table, the former beating Stoke City FC 2-1 to escape the bottom three, the latter losing 2-1 at home to Everton to remain entrenched in the relegation zone. Hull went behind but claimed their third league win of the campaign courtesy of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's added-time strike, four minutes after Abdoulaye Faye had been dismissed for the visitors. Louis Saha and Dan Gosling gave Everton their first league win since 26 September, while Wigan Athletic FC and Fulham FC shared a 1-1 draw.
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