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EPL title race heats up as Chelsea loses at United

Agencies | Updated: 2017-04-17 10:23

EPL title race heats up as Chelsea loses at United

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action with Chelsea's Gary Cahill during an English Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea in Old Trafford Stadium, Britain on April 16, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

MANCHESTER - A tactical masterclass from Jose Mourinho ensured the path to the English Premier League title will no longer be a procession for his former club, Chelsea.

Only four points separate Chelsea and second-placed Tottenham with six games left after Manchester United's 2-0 win over the lackluster leaders opened up the title race on Sunday. At one stage four weeks ago after a 2-1 win over Stoke, Chelsea held a 13-point lead.

It was a signature win for Mourinho near the end of his first season at United. He detailed Ander Herrera and Matteo Darmian to man-mark Chelsea forwards Eden Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez, made the bold call to start Marcus Rashford ahead of top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and played two youngsters — Rashford and winger Jesse Lingard — up front in a surprise move.

The decisions paid off brilliantly, with Rashford and Herrera scoring the goals and being the star performers at Old Trafford. Chelsea didn't have a shot on target in a league game for the first time in nearly a decade. Hazard barely had a meaningful touch.

"I think it was almost perfect," Herrera said.

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