Football: Chelsea beat Wigan to win fourth Premier League title

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chelsea football team today won the English Premier League for the first time since 2006, with an emphatic win over Wigan Athletic. Chelsea, who went into the game top of the table, knew that Manchester United had to beat Stoke City to have any chance of catching them.

Didier Drogba, who became the Premier League's top goalscorer after scoring a hat-trick

The first goal came early, with French striker Nicolas Anelka scoring from a Florent Malouda knock on, despite calls for offside, in the sixth minute. Just after the half-hour mark, Frank Lampard was pulled down in the box by Wigan defender Gary Caldwell. This earned the defender a straight red card, and the resulting penalty was scored by Lampard. After half-time, a third goal came from Salomon Kalou, before Alenka converted an Ivanovic cross to extend the lead to four just minutes afterwards.

Didier Drogba, Chelsea's top goalscorer this season, finally got onto the scoresheet with Chelsea's hundredth goal of the season, heading in from Lampard's lofted ball. When Ashley Cole was fouled in the area by former Chelsea man Mario Melchiot, Drogba stepped up to take the penalty, scoring Chelsea's sixth. On 80 minutes, Drogba completed his hat-trick with a close-range rebound, as this became the third time Chelsea had scored seven in one game this season. Ashley Cole scored the eighth just before the end of the game with a low shot under the goalkeeper.

Chelsea captain John Terry, whose private life had been the subject of intense scrutiny over the course of the season, was exuberant over the title win: "Forget everything else, this is about Chelsea Football Club and our day today. It has been a hard three years not winning the Premiership and today we deserved it. It's been hurting inside of me for three years, seeing Man United lifting it season after season." Carlo Ancelotti, the winning manager, compared the win to that of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: "Mourinho did some fantastic work and won two titles consecutively. This is my first and I hope to do the same as Mourinho. Now we have the opportunity to win the double and I hope that my players can, after these celebrations."

Results

Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea F.C.
8
0
Wigan Athletic F.C.

Wigan Athletic F.C.
Anelka (6', 57')
Lampard (32' pen)
Kalou (54')
Drogba (63', 67' pen, 80')
A. Cole (90')


Manchester United 4 – 0 Stoke

Manchester United, who were hoping for a Chelsea slip-up to stand any chance of taking the title for a fourth year in a row, still recorded a comfortable win over Stoke City.

The scoring was opened by Darren Fletcher, who tapped in from close range just after the half-hour mark. Seven minutes later, experienced winger Ryan Giggs slotted past the goalkeeper from a low Berbatov through ball. Just before half time, Ricardo Fuller forced a reflex save from van der Sar.

In the second half, a Higginbotham own goal gave Manchester United their third goal of the afternoon after a cross from striker Wanye Rooney. Several shots were saved from either side, before Park made it four with a close-range header with six minutes to go.

Afterwards, Sir Alex Ferguson spoke of his disappointment: "When we heard Wigan was down to 10 men, our hopes evaporated then. Losing this title makes you appreciate the achievement of winning the last three and also getting so near. We've got to try again."

Results

Manchester United F.C.

Manchester United F.C.
4
0
Stoke City F.C.

Stoke City F.C.
Fletcher (31')
Giggs (38')
Higginbotham (54' o.g.)
Park (84')


Around the League

In other games: Arsenal hit four against Fulham in the London derby at the Emirates; Blackburn Rovers got a narrow 1–0 away win at Aston Villa; Bolton Wanderers beat Birmingham City at home; already relegated Burnley managed a 4–2 victory over fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur; Everton edged Portsmouth 1–0 at Goodison Park; relegated Hull City held seventh-placed Liverpool to a goalless draw; West Ham United drew 1–1 with Manchester City; and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Sunderland 2–1.

Back in London, Arsenal assured their third-place finish with a 4–0 victory over Fulham. Andrey Asharvin opened the scoring for Gunners in the 21st minute with strike partner Robin van Persie following 5 minutes later. Eight minutes after that, Arsenal went three clear when Chris Baird deflected the ball into his own net after Emmanuel Eboue flicked on a Theo Walcott cross. Substite Carlos Vela completed the day with a low shot in the right side of the goal.

Brian Law's side has come up with some big wins, including two against top-four finishers.

Fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Burnley needing win and for Arsenal to drop points to move up to third in the table. The game started brightly for the north London club, going 2-0 up on 32 minutes, with goals from Gareth Bale and Luka Modrić. Just before the break, Wade Elliott slotted one home for Clarets. With Arsenal already up 3–0, the Spurs relaxed in the second half, having assured a place in European football with a victory in the mid-week. Ten minutes in Jack Cork headed home, while Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson finished of the comeback. The win moved Burley to 18th place in the table -- relegation as assured at the beginning the day -- and earned the Clarets and extra £800,000 from the Premier League in prize money. The victory was their second over a top-four club this season, winning 1–0 against Manchester United. Also earned points with draws with Manchester City and Arsenal. Burley had previously lost 5–0 at Tottenham.

Burnley manager Brian Laws addressed his future and praised club supporters after the game: "Everybody seems to question whether I'm going to be here next season, but we are planning for the future and I want to be part of that," Laws said, according the BBC. "It's a fantastic club with magnificent supporters who deserve to have another go at it in the Premier League."

Fifth-place Manchester City needed just one point to keep their spot -- having a decisive goal difference edge with sixth-place Aston Villa -- and they got the needed point with a one-all draw with West Ham. Both goals game within minutes of each other, with Luis Boa Morte putting the Hammers up with a chip in the 17th minute and four minutes later City levelled through a Sean Wright-Phillips header.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini praised fans in his post-match conference calling them fantastic as well as acknowledging the work of his players. "I think we played a good game and had plenty of chances to score," Mancini said. "It is important that we finished in fifth position and it is an important result for us."

Manchester City did not need the point after all was said and done, as Blackburn defeated Aston Villa at Villa Park. A late Richard Dunne own goal handed the Rovers the three points need to finish in the top half of the table.

Liverpool squeezed in the seventh-place spot, just two points above Everton. The Reds could not capitalize on Villa's defeat, though did earn a point in a goalless draw with relegation-side Hull. One of the so called "Big Four" of English football, the seventh-place finish -- while enough to qualify for the Europa League next season -- matches their lowest finish since the 1998–99 season. Since, Liverpool has always been as high as fifth and then only twice.

Assured the eighth spot at the start of the day, Everton played host to bottom-of-the table Portsmouth. American national keeper Tim Howard was denied the chance to square of against England keeper David James by Pompey manager Avram Grant, though substitute Jamie Ashdown filled in nicely. The game appeared to be headed to a goalless draw until Diniyar Bilyaletdinov slotted a goal to lift Merseyside club over the 60-point mark. Bilyaletdinov, a Russian national player, will get the distinction of scoring the last goal in the 2009–10 Premier League season.


Sources

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