Title race back on?

Chelsea's lead drops to four points after United defeat

The Independent

Why Chelsea will still beat Tottenham to the Premier League title despite losing to Manchester United

Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League may have been cut from 13 points to four, but they still remain heavy favourites for the title even they must negotiate six more league games this season.

The 2-0 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday came 15 days after a surprise 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace, and with Tottenham mounting a seven-match winning streak in the league, the title race suddenly appears to be wide open once again.

But any hope of Spurs beating Chelsea to the title may be slightly premature when the two have their season run-ins compared, and with the Blues needing five victories to guarantee the Premier League title in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, the effort from north London may be too little, too late.

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Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea: Mourinho's men open up title race

By Dan McLaughlin

It was a good day at the office for Jose Mourinho as Manchester United beat his former club Chelsea at Old Trafford, opening up the title race.

The Portuguese manager must have felt pretty satisfied as he recorded his first win against the Blues at the helm of United, suffering a 4-0 loss in the league and exiting the FA Cup quarter final at his old fortress, Stamford Bridge.

In retaliation to jeers of "Judas" from Chelsea fans during his side's 1-0 defeat last month, the Special One responded with a gesture of three fingers, resembling the titles he won during his time at the London club.

He managed to silence his former fans with a 2-0 victory, where Ander Herrera scored once and assisted another for young striker, Marcus Rashford.

Both sides were missing key players with Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois ruled out with a training injury, and Mourinho resting a "very tired" Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench with three other changes in his squad.

The BBC argues that Mourinho offered a "tactical masterclass" after raising a few eyebrows with his starting line-up. He utilised the pace and movement of Rashford and Jesse Lingard, and deployed Herrera to shadow and snuff out danger man Eden Hazard.

Chelsea were unlucky for the first goal on the seventh minute with referee Bobby Madley missing a clear handball from Herrera in the build-up. The Spanish midfielder intercepted a pass from Nemanja Matic with an outstretched arm before he slid the ball past David Luiz to Rashford. The 19-year-old lifted the ball over Begovic into the far corner, scoring his first goal in 20 appearances.

The Premier League leaders, who have been at the top since November 5, gave one of their worst performances this season. Key players Hazard, Diego Costa, Matic and N’Golo Kanté were all struggling to get involved in the game, with Chelsea not managing to get a single shot on target for the first time in a decade.

With Ashley Young failing to get a cross into the box, cut out by Luiz, he won the ball back after a careless clearance by Kanté. As he attempted to work the ball into the box, he poked a pass to Herrera who spun a shot, deflecting off Kanté, past a hapless Begovic on the 49th minute.

Chelsea could offer no sufficient response, and Manchester United comfortably extended their 22 league games unbeaten run. The win saw them move up to fifth, four points behind rivals Manchester City.

With six games left to play in the Premier League, four points separate second place Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

The Mirror calls the result "good news for all Premier League fans" as it keeps the title race and the top four battle alive. They also joke that it presents us with a scenario in which Piers Morgan is forced to leave the UK after the controversial Good Morning Britain presenter tweeted: "If Spurs win the League and Wenger signs a new contract, I will leave the country."

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