Arsenal, United crack under Chelsea pressure
Chelsea have one hand on the Premier League title after winning their festive war of nerves with champions Arsenal and Manchester United.
Chelsea's effortless 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Tuesday left Jose Mourinho's men well clear of the two clubs who have dominated English soccer over the past 10 years.
Arsenal scraped a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City, while United were probably even luckier to draw 0-0 with Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford after Spurs' midfielder Pedro Mendes was denied a goal despite his long shot clearly crossing the line in the final minute.
Chelsea have now rattled up 55 points, lost just one match and conceded only eight goals in their 22 league games in a remarkable centenary season under new boss Jose Mourinho.
Arsenal have 48 points, with United an even more distant third on 44 and scrapping for an automatic place in next season's Champions League.
The Premier League's big three had faced a frenetic run of four matches over a 10-day period between Christmas and the start of the New Year, with the burning question being which of the trio would crack.