Posted by Barrie on Saturday, 20 February 2010

Everton Halt Manchester United 's Title Chase

Goals from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell handed Manchester United a 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park today as the defending champions failed to overtake Chelsea in the Premier League.

Dimitar Berbatov had given Manchester United the lead after quarter of an hour. It was only a few minutes later that Bilyaletdinov capitalised on a poor clearance from Jonny Evans.

Manchester United's defence looked vulnerable without both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. This has been a problem all season and has seen them keep only 3 clean sheets on the road this season.

Going forward, United have relied heavily on Wayne Rooney this season and it showed today. Rooney was quiet with help from an excellent performance by Sylvain Distin. They really threatened the Everton goal, wasting a number of set piece opportunities.

Already with a tough run in, Manchester United will be relying on Wolves to pick up points at home to a Chelsea side missing a number of first team regulars today. Victory for the Blues would extend their lead to 4 points at the top with just 11 games remaining. Arsenal have the opportunity to close the gap to 2 points on Manchester United if they can win at home to Sunderland, as expected. They have a favourable run in.

Defensive problems have been a part of what Manchester United are struggling with this season. They've had injury problems there all season. Edwin van der Sar has only recently return, Rio Ferdinand returned to get suspended and Nemanja Vidic is currently out injured. They were all key players in there championship winning season in 2009. Despite scoring an impressive 63 league goals in 27 games now, they rely on Wayne Rooney far too often going forward. In games like today's when he doesn't perform well, neither do they.

The league is Chelsea's to lose now. Victory today and their odds will shrink dramatically.

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