A goal in the 84th minute saw Manchester United defeat Everton 1-0 and move one step closer to a record 19th English soccer championship.
Javier Hernandez scored as United remained six points ahead of Chelsea, which beat West Ham 3-0. Arsenal also close to within six points with a win at Bolton tomorrow.
“As I said to the players, just try to win your games and you’ll be alright,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “There’s only four games left and the way they are going about their business gives them an outstanding chance.”
Sunderland ended a nine-match winless run with a 4-2 victory over Wigan, which dropped into the three relegation places at the bottom of the standings. Liverpool routed Birmingham 5-0 and Tottenham drew 2-2 with West Brom. Three games -- Aston Villa vs Stoke, Blackpool vs Newcastle and Wolverhampton vs Fulham -- ended 1-1.
Manchester United continued its home dominance at Old Trafford thanks to Hernandez, who rose at the far post to head home a cross from Antonio Valencia for his 19th goal in his first season at the club.
“Javier has done better than everyone expected in his first year because we thought he would get used to the English game and get strengthened up,” Ferguson said on United’s website. “He’s passed all those tests.”
United is unbeaten in 17 league home games this season, with 16 wins, and 29 games overall at Old Trafford dating back to a 2-1 loss to Chelsea on April 3, 2010. The Red Devils, who share the record of 18 titles with Liverpool, visit Arsenal in their next game May 1 before hosting Chelsea seven days later.
Fernando Torres scored his first goal for Chelsea as the Blues beat last-place West Ham.
Torres beat Robert Green with a shot eight minutes after coming on as a substitute, ending a 15-game goalless drought since his 50 million-pound ($83 million) transfer from Liverpool in January. Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda also scored as the Blues ran their unbeaten run in the league to 10 games.
Jordan Henderson scored twice as Sunderland won for the first time since January. The defeat drops Wigan into the relegation zone behind Blackpool because of an inferior goal difference, with both on 34 points. Blackpool moved up after D.J. Campbell’s goal earned it the home draw with Newcastle, which got a score from Peter Lovenkrands.
Tottenham missed a chance to move into fourth place, drawing at home with West Brom. Spurs are one point behind Manchester City, which visits Blackburn on April 25, in the race for the final qualifying spot in the Champions League.
Jermaine Defoe scored his 100th Premier League goal to give Tottenham a 2-1 lead before Simon Cox drew West Brom level with nine minutes left. Maxi Rodriguez scored a hat trick as Liverpool beat Birmingham to draw within three points of Spurs.
Andy Johnson scored in the 80th minute to give Fulham the draw at Wolves, which moved out of last place over West Ham. Darren Bent’s goal earned Aston Villa the home draw with Stoke, which got a score from Kenwyne Jones.