Saturday 10 December 2016

Hazard knocks United out of the reckoning

Chelsea 1 Manchester Utd 0

Matt McGeehan

Published 19/04/2015 | 02:30

David De Gea does enough to put off Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas (right)
David De Gea does enough to put off Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas (right)
Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic celebrate after last night’s win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge moved Jose Mourinho’s side closer to the Premier League title. Photo: Ben Stansall
Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta in action with Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj
Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winning goal against Manchester United yesterday

Chelsea have one hand on the Premier League title after Eden Hazard knocked Manchester United out of the reckoning at Stamford Bridge.

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Jose Mourinho's third Premier League title and Chelsea's first for five years could be just 11 days away after Hazard's 38th-minute strike sent the Blues 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal.

Mourinho has taken a game-by-game approach to the season and will refuse to get ahead of himself, but win at the Emirates Stadium next Sunday and Chelsea could be crowned champions at Leicester three days later.

Arsenal would have five games to play, but the Blues would have an unassailable 16-point lead and clinch the self-proclaimed Special One's third English championship following his successes in 2005 and 2006.

United, who began the day eight points behind, dominated the opening period, but their only chance of note saw Wayne Rooney shoot narrowly wide.

Hazard then showed why he is favourite for the PFA Player of the Year prize, netting his 18th goal of the season on the counter-attack following Oscar's fine flick. The strike, seven minutes before half-time, shifted the momentum of the contest in Chelsea's favour.

Juan Mata has been influential in recent weeks, but he was unable to inspire United on his first return to his old stomping ground.

United had reason to feel aggrieved when Ander Herrera was booked for diving when tripped by Gary Cahill in stoppage-time. Referee Mike Dean ignored penalty appeals and Mourinho and Chelsea were able to celebrate a significant triumph.

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