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Rediff.com  » Sports » Chelsea in record-breaking form

Chelsea in record-breaking form

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May 11, 2005 10:25 IST

Chelsea broke two Premier League records held by Manchester United when they beat them 3-1 at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The English champions came from behind to notch their 29th league win of the season and lead the standings on 94 points from 37 games with one match to go.

United won 28 matches out of 38 in the 1999-2000 season and set the previous points record of 92 in the 1993-94 season when there were 42 matches.

Chelsea can increase to 97 the record number of points and set another modern-era mark in their 38th and last match at Newcastle United on Sunday. They have only conceded 14 goals to Liverpool's 16 in 1978-79, over 42 games.

Defeat left United in third place on 74 points, six behind Arsenal who are at home to fourth-placed Everton on Wednesday. United are in next season's Champions League but will have to play in the third qualifying round.

Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring for United in the eighth minute. Tiago equalised nine minutes later and Eidur Gudjohnsen and Joe Cole added two more for Chelsea in the last half hour.

"We knew about this record and we showed we wanted it," said Gudjohnsen, voted man of the match.

"We played tonight as though we needed the points," he added of a side the clinched the title at Bolton on April 30 with three matches to spare.

Manager Jose Mourinho said: "It was an unbelievable performance.I think we got motivation from the record. I don't like to play without real pressure.

"This victory is for John Terry, our captain, a Chelsea boy," he added. Terry is due to undergo surgery on a toe injury on Wednesday.

United took the game to Chelsea from the off and it was only a matter of time before their pressure told with keeper Carlo Cudicini having to untidily turn Cristiano Ronaldo's low shot away for a corner.

LOW CROSS

Television replays showed Ronaldo may have been offside when Van Nistelrooy scored. Wayne Rooney hit a low cross deep into the middle of the box from the left past Cudicini and the Dutchman tapped it home.

Chelsea were back on level terms after an equaliser that surprised Roy Carroll. The United keeper was rooted to the ground as Tiago's unexpected shot from 30 metres swerved into his top left corner off the post. It was the Portuguese midfielder's fourth league goal.

Tiago laid on Chelsea's second just past the hour with a superb through ball to Gudjohnsen who lifted over the advancing Carroll into the net from just inside the box.

Cole put the match beyond United with his side's third eight minutes from the end. The England midfielder, however, looked to have strayed offside when he knocked in Gudjohnsen's centre.

Late in the first half, Cole almost shocked Carroll again, his shot from Gudjonhsen's square ball skimming the same post.

Minutes earlier at the other end, Ricardo Carvalho did well with a clean tackle on Van Nistelrooy when the Dutchman ran onto a long ball out of defence and bore down on Cudicini.

Carroll was sharper seconds into the second half when he was quick to deny Cole, diving at the midfielder's feet as he ran onto a fine through ball from Gudjohnsen.

Minutes later Carroll again saved well from Cole as Chelsea continued to create chances with stinging counter-attacks.

United than evened the exchanges in an exciting see-saw spell to the match and Darren Fletcher hit Cudicini's bar with a similar shot to Tiago's.

Rex Gowar
Source:
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