Manchester United win English title

United outlast Chelsea as Fulham survive on the last day.

Champions: Manchester United are crowned the kings of English football [AFP]

A goal each from Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs gave Manchester United their 10th English Premier League title in 16 years after a 2-0 victory over Wigan.

Second-place Chelsea, which was even on points going into the final day of the season but trailing on goal difference, was held to a 1-1 draw by Bolton and finished two points behind.

United won with 87 points and Chelsea, which finishes runner-up for the second season in a row, has 85.

Now, 17-time English champion United is chasing Liverpool’s all-time record of 18 league titles.

“I think it will come,” said United manager Alex Ferguson, who has 21 individual trophies to his name in 22 seasons at Old Trafford.

“This team is developing all the time. It’s a good young team and there’s plenty of years left in them.”

Ferguson will get a chance at another trophy on May 21 in the Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow.

“The great thing is we’re bouncing in to the (Champions League) final,” Ferguson said.

Fulham survive

At the other end, Birmingham and Reading were relegated despite winning with four-goal performances.

Birmingham beat Blackburn 4-1 and Reading defeated last-place Derby 4-0.

Danny Murphy completes the
miracle for Fulham [AFP]

But Fulham survived after a 1-0 victory at FA Cup finalist Portsmouth on Danny Murphy’s 76th-minute goal.

“I am delighted we did it but, at the same time, I can’t help but think how close we were to going down and how sad it must be for Reading and Birmingham today,” Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said.

“In all the jubilation, I must say we were not that far away from it being us and not them, so they have all my sympathy tonight.”

Boro heap misery on Sven

The most stunning result of the final day was Manchester City’s 8-1 loss at Middlesbrough in what could be Sven-Goran Eriksson’s final game as City manager.

Eriksson’s future is in doubt after failing to get City into European competition next season after a ninth-place finish.

Eriksson, who has been in charge for one season, said he soon expected to hear about his future from the club’s owner, former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Stewart Downing starts the flood of
goals at the Riverside [AFP]

“To live in the unsecure is never good for anyone but I hope to not be living in the unsecure very soon, within hours,” the Swede said.

“I expect to speak to people, or they speak to me, from the owner’s side, people in the club who work daily within the club.”

Also, third-place Arsenal beat Sunderland 1-0 and fourth-place Liverpool won at Tottenham 2-0.

There was tension at Wigan’s JJB Stadium and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge as the two title contenders went into the final day even on points.

Luck smiles on United

United defender Rio Ferdinand was lucky not to give away an early penalty when a shot from Jason Koumas hit him on the arm.

But United was awarded one in the 33rd after Emerson Boyce’s foul on Wayne Rooney.

Ronaldo’s spot kick gave him his 31st league goal of the season and 41st overall.

John Terry, left, will face a race against
time to be fit for Moscow [AFP]

While everything was going right for United, it was all going wrong for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

After an early miss by Didier Drogba, captain John Terry was carried off the field with a dislocated elbow after colliding with his own goalkeeper, Petr Cech.

Andriy Shevchenko put the Blues ahead in the 62nd minute, however, to give Chelsea some hope.

But after Giggs scored at Wigan, Matthew Taylor replied for Bolton and Chelsea fell two points short.

Even if Chelsea had won at home, United still would have won the title on goal difference.

“They’ve been very good this year and we respect them,” Terry said after returning from the hospital with his arm in a sling.

“They’re top of the league and they deserve to be there. But Moscow’s a different story and we’re aiming for that.”

Source: News Agencies

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