United held as Chelsea go third
LONDON, Dec 23: English Premier League’s top-scorer Michu netted his 13th goal of the campaign as Swansea City held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, preventing the leaders from restoring their six-point lead over Manchester City.
Defender Patrice Evra headed United ahead from a Robin van Persie corner on 16 minutes at the Liberty Stadium but Spaniard Michu moved ahead of Van Persie in the goal-scoring charts when he levelled in the 29th.
Evra was caught out by Jonathan De Guzman’s clever run and when David De Gea could only parry the Dutchman’s angled shot, Michu was on hand to tap in.
United hit the woodwork twice in the second-half through Van Persie and Michael Carrick but they couldn’t find the winner.
“We absolutely battered them and we are very unlucky,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “It should have been a six point gap (over City) today and that is the disappointment.”
Chelsea, playing with a swagger missing for much of the season, routed Aston Villa 8-0 later on Sunday to climb to third place, seven points behind City but with a game in hand.
United have 43 points from 18 games, followed by City on 39 and Chelsea on 31 with four clubs, including Arsenal, on 30.
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres began the goal glut after three minutes at Stamford Bridge and David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic made it 3-0 at the break.
Frank Lampard marked his 500th Premier League game and first league start since October with a rasping fourth before Ramires (two), Oscar and Eden Hazard joined the fun.
On Saturday, City endured 93 minutes of frustration before Gareth Barry’s injury-time header gave them a 1-0 win over Reading.
In the tight tussle for the fourth Champions League spot, Arsenal are ahead of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion on goal difference.
Everton made light of Marouane Fellaini’s absence through suspension to win 2-1 at West Ham United in a game in which both sides ended with 10 men.
Tottenham, meanwhile, were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Stoke City at White Hart Lane.
West Bromwich Albion also reached the 30-point mark after ending Norwich City’s 10-match unbeaten league run with Romelu Lukaku sealing a 2-1 victory 10 minutes from time after Norwich had taken the lead at the Hawthorns.
Liverpool were the day’s biggest winners, crushing a woeful Fulham side 4-0 at Anfield in the evening kickoff as they up to eighth with 25 points.
In the relegation dogfight, Queens Park Rangers are five points behind Wigan Athletic but a point ahead of bottom-placed Reading despite Harry Redknapp’s unbeaten start as manager ended with a 1-0 loss to Newcastle while Sunderland boosted their
survival hopes as Steven Fletcher’s goal sealed a 1-0 win at fourth-bottom Southampton.
Chelsea 8 Aston Villa 0
Swansea City 1 Manchester United 1
Played on Saturday:
Liverpool 4 Fulham 0
Manchester City 1 Reading 0
Newcastle United 1 Queens Park Rangers 0
Southampton 0 Sunderland 1
Tottenham Hotspur 0 Stoke City 0
West Bromwich Albion 2 Norwich City 1
West Ham United 1 Everton 2
Wigan Athletic 0 Arsenal 1—Agencies