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Chelsea Wins in Premier League; Manchester Derby Ends Scoreless

Chelsea defeated Fulham 1-0 to increase its lead in English soccer’s Premier League over Manchester United, which tied Manchester City 0-0.

Michael Essien, who was red-carded late in the game, scored the only goal last night to lead Chelsea to the home win over its west London rival. The victory moves the Blues four points ahead of United atop the standings.

“The Manchester result was good for us,” Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti told Sky Sports. “Nothing is decided, but that’s a good gap. We’d like to stay there in that position.”

Arsenal strengthened its hold on third place with a 2-0 win at Wolverhampton, Aston Villa beat Blackpool 3-2 and Blackburn was a 2-1 winner at Newcastle. Last-place West Ham tied West Brom 2-2, Wigan drew 1-1 with Liverpool and Everton rallied to tie Bolton 1-1.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea rebounded from a 2-0 loss at Liverpool four days ago to leave Fulham still seeking its first away win since the first game of last season. The Blues tied a club record with a ninth consecutive home shutout.

Chelsea took the lead in the 30th minute when Essien headed in Salomon Kalou’s cross. Essien received a red card in second-half stoppage time for a two-footed challenge against Clint Dempsey.

Manchester United controlled long periods of play at the City of Manchester Stadium without finding a way through its rival’s defense.

‘Decent Result’

“It’s a decent result but we don’t count draws away from home as the target before the game,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “Our target is to win the game and I think we had enough possession to do that.”

City had the best chance in the first half as Carlos Tevez’s free kick was stopped by Edwin van der Sar just before halftime. United’s best chance came in the second half from Dimitar Berbatov, whose twisting volley went straight at goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The draw extends United’s unbeaten run to 25 games overall and 17 matches in the league.

Marouane Chamakh scored in the first and last minutes as Arsenal moved within a point of Manchester United and two points clear of Manchester City.

Chamakh opened the scoring in Wolverhampton after 39 seconds when he headed in Alex Song’s cross. He clinched the victory in the final seconds of second-half stoppage time.

James Collins’s goal in the 89th minute gave Aston Villa the home win over Blackpool. Stewart Downing and Nathan Delfouneso also scored for Villa, which ended a five-game winless run. Marlon Harewood and D.J. Campbell had the Blackpool goals.

Five in a Row

Jason Roberts scored with eight minutes left against Newcastle to lift Blackburn to its fifth straight win at St. James’ Park. Morten Gamst Pedersen put Rovers in front after three minutes and Andy Carroll tied it for Newcastle two minutes into the second half.

Pablo Ibanez’s goal in the 71st minute gave West Brom the draw at West Ham.

Peter Odemwingie put the Baggies in front with a 38th- minute penalty kick before a goal from Scott Parker and a penalty from Frederic Piquionne gave West Ham a 2-1 lead. The Hammers remain in last place with eight points, one fewer than Wolves.

Hugo Rodallega’s goal in the 52nd minute gave Wigan the home draw with Liverpool.

Jermaine Beckford scored in stoppage time as Everton overcame Marouane Fellaini’s sending off to tie with Bolton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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