LONDON: Manchester United stayed three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over neighbour Manchester City on Sunday while Chelsea romped to a 4-1 triumph at Arsenal.
Cristiano Ronaldo fired his 18th league goal of the season with an 18th minute free kick at Old Trafford and Carlos Tevez added the second with a shot from the edge of the area in the 45th.
The victory maintained Man United’s three-point advantage with a game in hand despite Liverpool’s 3-0 win at West Ham on Saturday.
But the two scorers weren’t smiling later in the game.
Ronaldo was visibly angry when he was taken off 15 minutes into the second half and Tevez, who is frustrated that United has not turned his loan move from West Ham into a full-time transfer, was reported to have said he was resigned to leaving at the end of the season.
“I didn’t read any of it,” Ferguson said when asked by Sky TV about Tevez’ reported comments that he felt he would be leaving the club. “He’s a Manchester United player.”
Ferguson said he was not surprised Ronaldo was upset at being taken off despite another standout performance.
“He wanted to stay on. That’s the simple reason,” Ferguson said.
“He’s in great form but I have to look at the bigger picture. We have got to think about how we can get through the game and keep him as fresh as we can.”
With the title race out of reach for another season, Arsenal and Chelsea also had local pride to play for at the Emirates Stadium with both clubs already assured of top four spots and places in next season’s Champions League.
Alex headed home Didier Drogba’s free kick to give Chelsea the lead in the 28th minute and Nicolas Anelka added the second in the 39th with a run and bending shot from 25 metres against one of his former clubs.
The game was virtually all over when Arsenal centerback Kolo Toure turned a cross from Ashley Cole into his own net in the 49th minute.
Arsenal substitute Nicklas Bendtner headed home a cross in the 70th minute but Florent Malouda added a fourth for the Blues with four minutes left with a tap-in after Anelka’s shot had hit the post.
The result keeps Chelsea three points behind second place Liverpool.
But Arsenal is guaranteed to finish fourth for the third season in four with no top-two finish during that time. That followed an eight-season spell when the Gunners were never out of the top two, winning three titles.
The results: Manchster United 2 (Ronaldo 18, Tevez 45) bt Man City 0.
Arsenal 1 (Bendtner 70) lost to Chelsea 4 (Alex 28, Anelka 39, Toure 49-og, Malouda 86). — AP