English Premier League: Man United move to within seven points of title

League leaders beat Stoke 2-0 to go 15 points clear at top.


Agencies April 14, 2013
Manchester United striker Van Persie ended his 10-match goal-scoring drought after he put one past the Stoke defence yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: Manchester United closed in on their 20th title when they won 2-0 at struggling Stoke City yesterday and need only seven points from their remaining six matches to reclaim the Premier League crown.

Michael Carrick put United ahead with a scrappy goal after four minutes and Robin van Perise ended his 10-match scoring drought with a 66th minute penalty to seal the points from a game United dominated from start to finish.

They now have 80 points from 32 games, 15 clear of current champions Manchester City, who have 65 with seven matches to play.



Stoke, who have now taken just one point from a possible 21, slipped back to 16th with 34 points, level with Aston Villa and just three clear of FA Cup finalists Wigan Athletic.

Wenger confident Arsenal will return to Europe

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident his side is on course to claim its usual place in the Champions League.

That was very much in jeopardy just a few weeks ago but Saturday’s 3-1 Emirates Stadium victory over Norwich City saw the Gunners leapfrog London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham into third place in the Premier League table.

Wenger was quick to point out that only after 38 games will the table reveal its true meaning but was nonetheless delighted with his players, who over-turned a 1-0 deficit with just five minutes remaining against the Canaries.

“At the moment, the position is not important,” he said. “What is important for us is to keep our run going and the consistency of our wins. It is really tight, and the team who is the most consistent will get there.”

Rodgers backs McCarthy, sees Euro hopes fade

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers tipped Reading keeper Alex McCarthy for an England call-up after he starred in the 0-0 draw at Madejski Stadium.

McCarthy was inspired for the rock-bottom Royals from start to finish as he denied the Reds quartet of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerarrd, Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.

“There is no question (he can play for England),” said Rodgers. “I don’t think our players could have done any more. I know young Alex very well and he will be a top keeper. To perform like that after being out so long is fabulous.

“We’re frustrated, because some of our play was very good. We can’t forget Pepe Reina made a great save as well. If you look at us we’re one of the top scorers in the league. Some of our performances have been very good. Next year we must turn them into points.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2013.

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