Manchester United need one point to win Premier League title

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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.

Afterwards a delighted Ferguson backed his side to finish the job.

“Knowing the players, they won’t muck it up,” Ferguson said. “They’ll get their point. There’s no doubt about that.”

Man-of-the-match Ryan Giggs admitted United were tantalisingly close to clinching the Premier League, a championship triumph that will see them pass Liverpool as English football’s most successful club.

“It’s a massive step forward,” Giggs told Sky Sports.

“Mathematically it’s not done yet, but we’re nearly there. We’ve just got to finish the job next week.”

Giggs, who is on course to collect an astonishing 12th Premier League winners medal, said supplanting Liverpool would be a “great achievement.”

“Fifteen or 20 years ago you’d have never thought it. It’s a great achievement by the team and the manager to overhaul our biggest rivals of the 70s, 80s and 90s,” the 37-year-old veteran added.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted his team had never recovered after Hernandez opened the scoring after just 37 seconds.

“We lost the game in the first minute. We started so badly. Conceding the goal in the first minute, it was very difficult to come back,” Ancelotti said.

“United played better than us and deserved to win, this is football and we have to accept this.”

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.

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.

The veteran Dutch international was pressed into action again soon afterwards, blocking a long-range Luiz shot with his midriff.

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.

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