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United on brink of winning title

Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday to leave themselves on the brink of a record 19th Premier League title. As they stand

sports Updated: May 09, 2011 01:32 IST

Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday to leave themselves on the brink of a record 19th Premier League title.

First-half goals from Javier Hernandez and captain Nemanja Vidic clinched a deserved victory which means Sir Alex Ferguson's side need just one point from their remaining games against Blackburn and Blackpool to clinch the title.

Chelsea - whose lone goal came from the boot of Frank Lampard - had clawed back a 15-point deficit to leave themselves only three points behind United heading into Sunday's heavyweight encounter.

But the reigning champions were blown away in a devastating opening period which saw United take a 2-0 lead within 23 minutes, Hernandez scoring after only 37 seconds to spark delirium at Old Trafford.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/090511/09_05_11-metro-17b.jpg

South Korean international Park Ji-Sung surged into space from midfield before sliding a pass through to the young Mexican international, who nipped in behind David Luiz and slotted past Petr Cech.

It got better for United in the 23rd minute, when a short corner routine saw Park feed Giggs, who jinked past Salomon Kalou before whipping over a cross for Vidic, who shrugged off Branislav Ivanovic to nod home.

The double strike left Chelsea reeling although the Londoners did have their chances to get back in the game, United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar blocking Kalou's close-range header superbly.

Lampard gave Chelsea hope on 68 minutes, prodding in from close range after Ivanovic knocked down a deflected Ramires cross, but United were not to be denied.

Earlier Sunday, Arsenal were eliminated from the title race after slumping to a 3-1 defeat at Stoke. First-half goals from Kenwyne Jones and Arsenal old boy Jermaine Pennant followed by a late Jonathan Walters strike secured a deserved win for the Potters at the Britannia Stadium.

Arsenal, who had scored a 1-0 victory over United last Sunday, were always struggling to impose themselves as Stoke warmed up for next weekend's FA Cup final against Man City in style. Stoke took the lead on 28 minutes, when Pennant swung in a free-kick from the right which fell to Jones who deflected the ball in off his torso from close range. It got better for Stoke five minutes before half-time, when a long-range effort from Pennant took a deflection off Johan Djourou and looped beyond keeper Wojciech Szczesny for 2-0.

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