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Chelsea's Response Puts Ball in Man U's Court

  • BBC Sport, Tuesday, December 19, 2006 3:53 PM
Advantage Chelsea, or so it seems. In truth, English Premier League leader Manchester United fell away rather limply to West Ham United on Sunday, while Chelsea before it seemed to be headed for a similar fate until two fantastic out-of-the-blue strikes from Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. The Premiership champions produced more of the same the week before against Arsenal. Unquestionably, says Alan Hansen of BBC Sport, the pressure is now on the Red Devils, whose eight-point lead has been cut to two in less than two weeks. Looking ahead to a crowded holiday schedule, in which both teams play three games in less than two weeks, Chelsea and Man U have similar fixtures. It will come down to stamina, and perhaps, savvy decision-making by the clubs respective coaches, whomever comes out of the difficult Christmas period on top. Crucially, Man United has to respond to its loss this weekend against West Ham. Hansen says the Red Devils have to win no less than their next five games to reassert themselves at the top of the Premiership. They start with a tricky away trip to Aston Villa this weekend, while Chelsea travels to Wigan.

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