Rarely do you see the champions-elect dominated at home, but that was the case on Saturday as Manchester United enjoyed 70% possession at Stamford Bridge. But as Pep Guardiola famously said, “passing the ball for the sake of passing” is meaningless and that was the case as Chelsea scored the only goal of the game to win 1-0 and take a massive step towards winning the title.
Eden Hazard showed why he should benamed PFA player of the year when he scored the winner in the 38th-minute. A great back-heel from Oscar froze the United back line and Hazard raced though and slipped the ball through the legs of David de Gea in the United goal.
United for all there possession rarely tested Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and their best chance fell to Wayne Rooney early in the game, but even then he could not put his shot on target.
At the other end of the table, the big escape could be on at Leicester as the Fixes climbed off the bottom of the table thanks to a 2-0 home win over Swansea City. That is three successive victories for Leicester and they only trail Hull City on goal difference from safety. At the moment, Leicester look like the one club in the bottom three that will survive, and that is bad news for Hull or Sunderland, who both are looking like relegation candidates.
Burnley’s hopes of staying up suffered a blow in a 1-0 defeat at Everton, Roberto Martinez’s Toffees now unbeaten in five league games. Kevin Mirallas gave Everton a 29th-minute lead from James McCarthy’s cross before Burnley were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time when Ashley Barnes was sent off for two bookable offences.
Tony Pulis enjoyed a happy return to Crystal Palace as his West Bromwich Albion side eased their relegation worries by winning 2-0 at Selhurst Park. Pulis left Palace on the eve of this campaign after saving the Eagles from relegation last season and he did not have to wait long for Albion to take the lead on his old stamping ground.
Stoke City beat Southampton 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium as the Potters claimed their first top-flight victory over Saints in 15 matches. Morgan Schneiderlin put Southampton ahead from close range after 22 minutes when he profited from Jose Fonte’s flick-on.