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Chelsea closes in on Man. United
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 25 - 03 - 2010

The Premier League continued to hurtle towards its closest three-way finish for years Wednesday as Chelsea thumped Portsmouth 5-0 away to move above Arsenal and back within a point of leader Manchester United.
The win took the Londoners to 68 points, one behind the champion and level on goal difference. The top two meet at Old Trafford on April 3. Arsenal is third on 67 and the top three all have seven games left.
Tottenham Hotspur, which reached the FA Cup semifinals with a 3-1 win over Fulham Wednesday, remained fourth on 55 after a bad night for two of their challengers for the final Champions League slot.
Manchester City is still two points adrift after losing 2-0 at home to Everton. Goals by Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta continued Everton's terrific run and inflicted City's first home defeat of the season.
Liverpool and Aston Villa, held 1-1 at home by Sunderland, both have 51 with Everton hard on their heels on 48.
Chelsea, knocked out of the Champions League by Inter Milan a week ago and held to a Premier League draw by Blackburn Rovers Sunday, desperately needed to take advantage of their game in hand.
After struggling to subdue the league's bottom club for half an hour, it was gifted the opening goal when goalkeeper David James did his chances of regaining his England place for the World Cup no good at all when he missed an attempted clearance and allowed Didier Drogba a tap-in. Florent Malouda then lashed in the second after 50 minutes and added the third 10 minutes later.
Drogba tucked in the fourth after 77 minutes and Frank Lampard scored the fifth.
Tottenham staged a second-half comeback to reach the FA Cup semifinals.
After trailing through Bobby Zamora's first-half goal, Spurs hit back after the break with substitutes David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko scoring before Eidur Gudjohnsen sealed the replay victory.
Tottenham had never lost to Fulham in the FA Cup, but the visitor went ahead in the 17th minute when Zamora netted his 17th goal of the season.
Spurs made a double change at the break and switched formation. Midfielder David Bentley replaced Niko Kranjcar on the right and Tom Huddlestone came on for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, whose place at left back was taken by Gareth Bale and Luka Modric took his spot in midfield.
Bentley curled in a free kick that flew past Mark Schwarzer in a crowded penalty area.
Spurs defender Vedran Corluka limped off with a twisted ankle and was replaced by Roman Pavlyuchenko. He made an immediate contribution by volleying home Bentley's cross to put the home side in front.
Gudjohnsen ensured the trip to Wembley by latching onto Modric's ball and rounding Schwarzer.


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