Samuel Eto’o’s hat-trick helped Chelsea beat Manchester United 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday a result that left Jose Mourinho’s side within two points of leaders Arsenal. But the defeat means title-holders United are now 14 points behind the Gunners with 16 league games of the season remaining. Closing the six point gap to Liverpool in fourth place might be the best that David Moyes’s side can hope for this season.
United had two really good chances earlier on to score but both Ashley Young and Dany Welbeck’s shots were saved by Petr Cech.
Chelsea had two good chances in the first half and scored from both of them. First Eto’o gave Chelsea a 17th minute lead when he left Phil Jones for dead with a great bey swerve before his shot from just outside the box deflected off Michael Carrick’s outstretched boot and past the despairing dive of United goalkeeper David de Gea.
Then the veteran striker made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time when, following Gary Cahill’s centre, he smashed the ball home from six yards out.
United, without injured strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, found themselves 3-0 behind four minutes after the interval when more lax defending from a set-piece allowed Cahill a free header from a few yards.
His effort was just about blocked by de Gea but, barely a yard away, Eto’o reacted first and made no mistake with the simple chance.
Javier Hernandez, on as a substitute for Ashley Young, pulled a goal back 12 minutes from time put it was too little too late for United.
The day got even worse for United as captain Nemanja Vidic was given a straight red in stoppage time for a bad challenge on Eden Hazard. Vidic will now miss United’s next three games.
Earlier on Sunday, Tottenham posted a fifth consecutive Premier League away win against Swansea. Emmanuel Adebayor headed Spurs in front against the run of play and forced Chico to put through his own net shortly after half-time. The revitalised striker then completed formalities with a cool side-footed finish from inside the area seven minutes before Wilfried Bony scored a classy consolation.