Manchester United took another step towards their 18th league title, with Chelsea just about clinging onto their coattails, but at the bottom of the table, four teams slipped up as they looked to secure their Premier League status for another season.
United were never troubled by Middlesbrough at The Riverside and goals from Ryan Giggs (25) and Park J-Sung (51) secured an important win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side who are now six points clear at the top of the table.
The defeat sees Middlesbrough stay three points adrift of safety and nervously awaiting the games involving Hull, Sunderland and Newcastle in the next two days.
Chelsea have drawn level with Liverpool having played a game more than The Reds following a 3-1 win over Fulham that begun in explosive fashion.
Nicolas Anelka put Chelsea in front in the first minute and, after Erik Nevland's reply (4), Florent Malouda (10) and Didier Drogba (53) secured the victory for The Blues.
Arsenal may be out of the title race but they guaranteed European football for next season when beating Portsmouth 3-0 to secure fourth place.
Nicklas Bendtner scored twice (13, 41), the first thanks to a David James howler and the second a controversial penalty, and Carlos Vela (56) claimed his first Premier League goal before Noe Pamarot's late dismissal for a professional foul. Report |
In the race for seventh and the final Europa League place, Manchester City, West Ham and Tottenham took advantage of Fulham's defeat following victories for all three teams.
The Hammers are in seventh with 48 points, one ahead of Spurs, City and Fulham, thanks to a 1-0 win over Stoke City that was secured by Diego Tristan's superb free-kick (33).
Mark Hughes saw his City side prevent former club Blackburn from reaching the 40-point mark with a 3-1 victory at Eastlands.
Rovers had a shocking first half as goals from Felipe Caicedo (27), Robinho (34) and Elano (45, pen) saw them race into a three-goal lead. Keith Andrews (66) pulled one back after El-Hadji Diouf's penalty was saved.
West Brom are all-but relegated as a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham leaves them six points adrift of safety with three games remaining. Jermaine Jenas (43) punished The Baggies for missing a host of chances.
In the Lancashire derby at The JJB Stadium, Wigan and Bolton played out a highly-entertaining 0-0 draw with Jussi Jaaskelainen making a number of impressive saves. Gary Cahill and Hugo Rodallega also hit the woodwork as Amr Zaki returned to a chorus of boos.