Record-breaking Chelsea cruise past sorry United
Chelsea re-wrote the Premiership record books with a 3-1 win away to Manchester United as goals from Tiago, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Joe Cole cancelled out Ruud van Nistelrooy's opener at Old Trafford.
Chelsea, who secured their first title in 50 years at Bolton last week, secured a record 29th league win in a season, beating the Premiership best of 28 set by United in 1999-2000.
They also broke another Premiership record belong to the Red Devils, their tally of 94 points surpassing the 92 posted by Sir Alex Ferguson's side in 1993-94.
And Jose Mourinho's men still have one game of the season remaining, away to Newcastle on Sunday.
The result confirmed Arsenal as runners-up and direct entrants into next season's Champions League proper with third-placed United now having to win a qualifying tie to gain entry into the main draw.
"It was an amazing game," Mourinho told Sky Sports afterwards. "We got motivation from the records. The players had very fresh minds.
"It was a fantastic quality of football. We concede an early goal but no panic, the team kept going.
"It's the perfect way to beat the record in such an amazing stadium against United, against a team which has in Sir Alex a big example of success and fair play. It was the perfect night for us."
Mourinho also paid tribute to Chelsea captain and Enland centre-half John Terry who missed the match with a toe injury.
"At this moment we don't forget John Terry because for sure he would have loved to have been here with us.
"This victory is for him, he's our captain and, as a Chelsea boy since a child, I think he must be the most proud of everyone."
Looking ahead, Mourinho added: "After success the next season is always important. Somebody told me that Sir Alex after success likes to look the players in the eyes and see how they feel.
"I like to see the first training session of the pre-season. On the sixth of July I will be coaching and watching and I will feel what we want for the future," the Portuguese explained.
Asked if Chelsea "had" to win the league next season, Mourinho replied: "I cannot say if we don't win the league we have failed.
"But I have to say in my five years contract if we don't win the championship once of twice more we don't have a really great team."
Third-placed United were left six points behind Arsenal and a huge 20 adrift of Chelsea with only three on offer if they beat Southampton in their final game of the season on Sunday.
Ferguson though had no complaints about the result. "It's always disappointing to lose a game but Chelsea thoroughly deserved it."
The Scot added he had given up on second place after last weekend's 1-1 draw against West Brom. "I didn't expect us to get second after the result on Saturday."
United and Arsenal will now focus on their FA Cup final clash at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on May 21, the last chance for either side to win some silverware this season.
"It will be intense for both clubs with no quarter asked or given," Ferguson said.
United's players may have applauded Chelsea onto the pitch but that did not stop them taking an early lead.
Chelsea, without rested goalkeeper Petr Cech as well as Terry, looked shaky at the back and United deservedly went ahead in the seventh minute when van Nistelrooy scored from close range.
Wayne Rooney's cross found the Dutchman just inside the six yard box and van Nistelrooy flicked the ball past Cudicini.
Chelsea's solitary Premiership defeat prior to this game had come across Manchester at Manchester City in October.
But United's hopes of inflicting another Mancunian defeat on Mourinho's team were dampened when the visitors equalised with a stunning goal from Tiago in the 17th minute.
The champions hadn't threatened the United goal prior to the Portuguese midfielder's 30-yard strike, but Tiago left goalkeeper Roy Carroll completely helpless as his right-foot shot arrowed into the top corner.
Full-back Glen Johnson should have put Chelsea ahead when he sprung the offside trap to latch onto Cole's pass in the 49th minute, but the England defender took too long to unleash a strike on goal, allowing United to clear. Moments later, though, Cole forced Carroll into a fine save with a low strike from 18 yards.
United offered little in return, despite their 49 million pounds strike pairing of van Nistelrooy and Rooney, and it required Darren Fletcher's 20-yard strike which crashed against the crossbar to worry the Chelsea rearguard.
But United's failure to create more chances and break down the Chelsea defence was punished when Gudjohnsen raced clear to make it 2-1 on 61 minutes.
The Iceland international, who scored the winner against United at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, again sprung United's offside trap to run onto Tiago's pass and beat Carroll from 12 yards.
Chelsea completed their win when Cole converted Frank Lampard's cross to make it 3-1 eight minutes from time.
English Premiership table after Tuesday's match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):
Chelsea 37 29 7 1 71 14 94
Arsenal 36 24 8 4 79 34 80
Man Utd 37 21 11 5 56 25 74
Everton 36 18 7 11 43 36 61
Liverpool 37 16 7 14 50 40 55
Bolton 37 15 10 12 46 42 55
Middlesbrough 37 14 12 11 52 45 54
Man City 37 13 12 12 46 38 51
Tottenham 37 14 9 14 47 41 51
Aston Villa 37 12 11 14 44 50 47
Charlton 37 12 9 16 40 56 45
Newcastle 37 10 13 14 46 56 43
Birmingham 37 10 12 15 38 45 42
Blackburn 37 9 14 14 32 43 41
Fulham 37 11 8 18 46 60 41
Portsmouth 37 10 9 18 43 57 39
Norwich 37 7 12 18 42 71 33
Southampton 37 6 14 17 44 64 32
Crystal Palace 37 7 11 19 39 60 32
West Brom 37 5 16 16 34 61 31
Qualified for automatic Champions League place: Chelsea, Arsenal
Qualified for Champions League but must negotiate qualifying tie: Manchester United, Everton