Chelsea FC took another step towards a first English championship in 50 years today as they defeated Portsmouth FC 3-0, although Manchester United FC have not given up the fight as they proved by beating Aston Villa FC 3-1.
It is seven games since Chelsea conceded a goal in the Premiership and their defensive solidity paved the way for another impressive victory at Stamford Bridge. Two Didier Drogba strikes either side of one from Arjen Robben moved Chelsea on to 61 points, eleven more than United and 13 ahead of an Arsenal FC side who tackle Newcastle United FC tomorrow.
Victory is imperative for Arsenal at Highbury if they are to have any realistic hope of retaining their title as Chelsea are in no mood to drop points. José Mourinho's side got going in the 15th minute when Robben teed up Drogba to open the scoring with a low drive. Provider turned scorer six minutes later as the Dutchman converted a Frank Lampard pass, and a Drogba goal direct from a free-kick completed the scoring in the 39th minute.
United were similarly impressive in recording their 14th league victory of the season after Cristiano Ronaldo followed up his midweek FA Cup goal with the opener in the eighth minute. Villa drew level in the 53rd minute but Gareth Barry's equaliser counted for nothing after Louis Saha and Paul Scholes both scored inside two second-half minutes.
Everton FC remain fourth despite losing 1-0 at home to Charlton Athletic FC - Matt Holland volleying a superb winner on the stroke of half-time - while Middlesbrough FC allowed a 4-1 lead to slip against Norwich City FC in the last ten minutes; Adam Drury capping a majestic comeback when making it 4-4.
Charlton and Middlesbrough are now level on 37 points with Liverpool FC after the Reds lost 2-0 at Southampton FC, for whom David Prutton and Peter Crouch sealed a first victory under Harry Redknapp. Another manager celebrating a first win was Bryan Robson, as his West Bromwich Albion FC side saw off Manchester City 2-0.
Crystal Palace FC also enjoyed one of their most significant wins of the season as they scored three times without reply in the second half against Tottenham Hotspur FC. Fulham FC were the fourth London club to triumph, winning 2-1 at Birmingham City FC.
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