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Chelsea draw, United lose to boost Arsenal
Updated: 2004-04-18 11:23

Chelsea and Manchester United helped Arsenal's unbeaten surge towards the premier league title on Saturday when champions United were beaten 1-0 by Portsmouth and second-placed Chelsea drew 0-0 at home with Everton.

Arsenal's 5-0 thrashing of Leeds United on Friday, on the back of four goals from French striker Thierry Henry, had put them 10 points ahead of Chelsea, who play Monaco in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday.

The leaders now need just four points from their last five games to win their 13th title.

Arsenal (81 points) and United (68) have five games remaining, Chelsea (72) just four. The match between Chelsea and United at Old Trafford on May 8 could decide which team finishes second to qualify directly for the Champions League group stage.

Chelsea should have won by several goals against Everton but strikers Adrian Mutu and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink missed a hatful of chances while Frank Lampard hit the bar in the first half.

United also dominated possession at Portsmouth but a Steve Stone goal in the 36th minute was enough to guarantee the south coast club's first victory over United for 47 years. It also pulled Portsmouth away from the relegation struggle.

"That's a massive three points for us," manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports television. "I would have taken a draw before the game and to pick up three points was fantastic."


Liverpool's Champions League aspirations were hurt by a 0-0 draw with Fulham at Anfield where Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had a penalty saved by Dutch keeper Edwin van der Sar in the second half and England striker Emile Heskey hit the post.

Liverpool stay in fourth with 50 points, one more than Newcastle United who play at Aston Villa on Sunday and have another game in hand. The third and fourth sides in the premier league will play in the Champions League qualification phase.

In the relegation battle, Blackburn Rovers beat fellow strugglers Leicester City 1-0 and bottom side Wolverhampton Wanderers defeated Middlesbrough 2-0.

Blackburn had not won any of their last nine games at home and manager Graeme Souness said the win, thanks to an own goal from Greek defender Nikos Dabizas, had been a huge relief.

"It was a nervy old affair between two teams fighting for their lives. You take anything in the position we are in," Souness told Sky Sports.

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur slipped towards the drop zone, City going down 3-1 at home to Southampton and Spurs falling 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers.

City are in the deeper trouble with 34 points, two more than Leeds who are in 18th place, the final relegation spot. Leicester and Wolves both have 28 points.

Kevin Phillips got two second-half goals for Southampton after his strike partner James Beattie opened the scoring before the break. French forward Nicolas Anelka got a consolation for City but missed a clear-cut early chance that could have made all the difference to the home side.

"It was very disappointing. We looked jaded and tired today," said City manager Kevin Keegan. "We are in a dogfight now."

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