Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-sung scored the goals as Manchester United moved closer to a third consecutive Premier League title on today with a 2-0 victory at relegation-threatened Middlesbrough.
Voted player of the year by his fellow pros on Sunday and in his club record 801st appearance for United, Giggs scored with a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner in the 25th minute after the Boro defense allowed him too much room on the edge of the area.
Park added the second in the 51st minute, also with a low left-footer after Wayne Rooney had set up the opening with a run and diagonal pass to the Korean winger.
The victory gave United 80 points from 34 games. Second placed Liverpool, which has 74 from 34, is not in action until Sunday when it hosts another relegation-zone struggler, Newcastle.
"It's a big step forward — only four games left now. I keep saying you whittle the games away until there are none left," said United manager Alex Ferguson, who is aiming to lead the Red Devils to their 11th Premier League title in 16 seasons. "It was a very good performance. They all worked their socks off and once we got a hold of the ball we always looked a danger."
The loss means next-to-last Boro is even deeper in trouble with only 31 points from 35 games and just three matches left in which to try and avoid relegation from the top flight.
Nicolas Anelka scored in the first minute as Chelsea moved level on points with Liverpool after a 3-1 victory over Fulham. Although Erik Nevland equalized in the fourth minute, Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba added further goals for the Blues as Fulham slipped two places to ninth.
A blunder by England goalkeeper David James, who fumbled Nicklas Bendtner's header into the net, helped Arsenal on to 3-0 victory at Portsmouth. Bendtner and Carlos Vela added more goals and Pompey had Noe Pamarot sent off.
Diego Tristan fired home a 32nd-minute free kick as West Ham won 1-0 at Stoke to move up to seventh place, and Manchester City's Felipe Caicedo, Robinho and Elano all scored in the first half on the way to a 3-1 victory over Blackburn.
Tottenham stayed 10th but is now level on points with Man City and Fulham after a 1-0 victory over last-place West Bromwich Albion. Jermain Jenas scored just before halftime. The loss left West Brom still six points away from safety with only three games left.
Wigan and Bolton drew 0-0, with goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen salvaging a point for the visitor with three fine first-half saves from Hugo Rodallega and Ahmed Mido.
Sunday's other game is Sunderland vs. Everton. On Monday, Aston Villa hosts Hull.
The final round of League Championship games take place on Sunday with second-place Birmingham hoping to fend off Sheffield United and Reading to join champion Wolves as the two teams promoted automatically as the top two finishers.Reuse content