Chelsea hiccup opens door for United

November 21, 2010 | Paul Hoke

As an ardent supporter of Manchester City, seeing Manchester United climb to the top of the English Premier League table would usually send shivers down my spine.  But when it’s to the detriment of Chelsea, I revel in it.

I hate Chelsea, not as much as the Steelers or Yankees, but enough to know that I don’t want them to succeed at anything.  So after watching United put away Wigan, who had two men sent off and finished with just nine players, 2-0, my father in law switched the channel over to the Chelsea-Birmingham game which was in it’s 92nd minute.

Chelsea, the defending champions, had come into Birmingham’s St. Andrews Stadium with a 3-point lead at the top of the EPL table.  Birmingham, a decent club, but nowhere near the level of the Chelsea’s and United’s of the world, came into the match around the middle of the table, at a spot where they are most likely to finish.  All signs pointed to another Chelsea win…right?

Wrong.

In the 17th minute of the young contest, Lee Bowyer slipped a shot past all-world Chelsea keeper Petr Cech for the early 1-0 lead.  And Birmingham’s netminder, Ben Foster, made that score stick.  Facing barrage after barrage from the Chelsea offense, the top scoring unit in the league, Foster stood on his head and held the Blues scoreless for the fifth time this season, and second in a row after an inexplicable 3-0 home loss to Sunderland.

Meanwhile, in northwest England, Manchester United took on Wigan Athletic, who desperately needed a win as they try to free themselves from the relegation zone.  After another sloppy first half by United, Patrice Evra brought the Old Trafford faithful to their feet as he put United ahead, 1-0, with a stoppage time goal.  The second half opened with a much stronger United effort, no unlike our own beloved football team, and in the span of 3 minutes, Wigan was reduced from 11 men to 9, when captains, Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega received red cards for late tackels.  United’s Javier Hernandez capped off the scoring with a brilliant header in the 77th minute, and the depleted Wigan squad never seriously challenged in the second half.

With their win, and Chelsea’s second consecutive loss, United moves into a first place tie with the Blues at 28 points each.  Arsenal, who suffered a 3-2 home  loss to Tottenham remains in third place with 26 points, and Bolton, Man City, and Tottenham round out the fourth, fifth, and sixth places, all tied at 22 points.

At this moment, City is taking on Everton at Craven Cottage and a win would propel my team to sole possession of 4th place, the final UEFA Champions League spot.

Go City, and of course, GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!

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