Premier League - Key moments of the title race

Reuters - Mon, 10 May 09:07:00 2010

A look back at the main moments this season that decided the destination of the 2009-10 Premier League title.

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August 19 - Manchester United lose at Burnley

In only their second league game of the season, Michael Carrick misses a penalty as United are defeated at Turf Moor. Robbie Blake's rasping volley after 19 minutes seals a famous win for newly-promoted Burnley.

August 29 - United beat Arsenal

Arsenal are the better side but, after Andrei Arshavin opens the scoring, a Wayne Rooney penalty and an Abou Diaby own goal seals a 2-1 win for United. Arsene Wenger is sent to the stand by referee Mike Dean in injury time, and he is forced to watch the end of the match surrounded by United fans.

Table at end of August

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 4 +8 12

2 Tottenham 4 +7 12

3 Man United 4 +6 9

...

6 Arsenal 3 +7 6

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September 26 - Chelsea suffer first defeat of season

After winning their first nine matches in all competitions, Chelsea suffer shock 3-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic. Petr Cech is sent off for foul on Hugo Rodallega, and the Colombian scores the resulting penalty to put the Latics in front, before Paul Scharner makes it three in injury time.

Table at end of September

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Man United 7 +11 18

2 Chelsea 7 +10 18

3 Liverpool 7 +12 15

...

6 Arsenal 6 +10 12

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October 25 - Liverpool beat United

Despite going into the clash off the back of four straight defeats, Liverpool beat United 2-0 at Anfield. Fernando Torres and David Ngog get the goals as Nemanja Vidic is sent off for his third straight match against the Reds.

Table at end of October

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 11 +20 27

2 Man United 11 +12 25

3 Arsenal 10 +19 22

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November 8 2009 - Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge

United are by far the better team in the first head-to-head of the season but Chelsea snatch the win with a 76th-minute John Terry header to end the day five points clear and with their belief boosted that they can foil United's bid for an unprecedented fourth successive title.

November 14 - Van Persie injured

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie damages ankle ligaments 10 minutes into international friendly against Italy. The forward is initially ruled out for six weeks, but does not appear for the Gunners again until April 14, when he comes off the bench in 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Table at end of November

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 14 +28 36

2 Man United 14 +17 31

3 Tottenham 14 +14 26

4 Arsenal 13 +18 25

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December 25 - Merry Christmas, Chelsea

Chelsea spend Christmas and New Year at the top of the table, although their lead is cut to just two points after draws with West Ham and Birmingham over the festive period.

Table at end of December

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 20 +29 45

2 Man United 20 +27 43

3 Arsenal 19 +30 41

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January - African exodus

Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou depart for the African Cup of Nations and everyone waits to see how Chelsea will cope without them. Influential midfielder Michael Essien suffers a knee injury in Angola that will eventually rule him out for the rest of the season. In their absence Chelsea win five out of five in league and cup, scoring 19 goals in the process. Manager Carlo Ancelotti realises that with Nicolas Anelka playing as a lone front man his midfielders get into the box more than when Drogba is on duty, giving him a tactical option which he uses to good effect later in the season.

January 30 - John Terry scores winner against Burnley

On the day the tabloids print revelations of John Terry's extra-marital affair, the Chelsea captain scores the winning goal in 2-1 victory at Turf Moor.

Table at end of January

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 23 +38 54

2 Man United 24 +36 53

3 Arsenal 24 +32 49

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February 20 - Everton kids down United

Just 10 days after beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park courtesy of a brace from former United striker Louis Saha, the Toffees get one over on United by beating them 3-1 on Merseyside. Goals from youngsters Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell seal win after Diniyar Bilyaletdinov cancels out Dimitar Berbatov's opener.

February 27 - Ramsey injured

With United not in league action as they defend their Carling Cup crown at Wembley, Chelsea fail to open up a four-point gap at the top of the table with a 4-2 home defeat to Manchester City, a match that may be best remembered for Wayne Bridge refusing to shake John Terry's hand. Arsenal win their match 3-1 to move within three points of the leaders, but it comes at a price - midfielder Aaron Ramsey breaks his leg after colliding with Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross during the game at the Britannia Stadium.

Table at the end of February

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 28 +39 61

2 Man United 28 +42 60

3 Arsenal 28 +35 58

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March 21 - Chelsea held at Ewood Park

Days after being knocked out of the Champions League by Internazionale, a tame-looking Chelsea are held to a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers to fall four points behind United. Ancelotti, his staff and the players subsequently get together for a "clear-the-air meeting" and all emerge re-energised for the assault on the Premier League. Without the annual distraction of the Champions League the next two games produce 5-0 and 7-1 wins and a new desire for domestic success.

March 30 - Rooney injured

Wayne Rooney twists his ankle in the final moments of United's Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat at Bayern Munich. Days later the England striker, whose amazing season has spearheaded United's challenge on all fronts, watches from the stands as Chelsea win 2-1 at Old Trafford and also misses the costly goalless draw with Blackburn where Dimitar Berbatov fails to rise to the occasion in his place. Rooney limps through the remainder of the season but looks semi-fit and fails to score again.

Table at end of March

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Man United 32 +51 72

2 Chelsea 32 +53 71

3 Arsenal 32 +40 68

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April 3 - Chelsea complete double over United

Carlo Ancelotti starts with Didier Drogba on the bench at Old Trafford. The Ivorian comes on with 20 minutes remaining to score the winner.

April 18 - Arsenal title dream dies

Arsenal lead 2-0 at Wigan, but in final 10 minutes Ben Watson, Titus Bramble and Charles N'Zogbia all score to overturn the Gunners and destroy their slim title hopes. The defeat leaves the Gunners six points off the top spot with just nine points left to play for.

April 24 - United beat Spurs but Chelsea rout Stoke

United benefit from Tottenham's back-to-back 2-1 wins over Arsenal and Chelsea by beating them 3-1 at Old Trafford to return to the top of the table. The next day, however, Chelsea roar back past them for good with one of their most impressive performances in years. Their 7-0 demolition of Stoke City is their record top-flight win and could easily have produced double figures.

Table at end of April

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 36 +61 80

2 Man United 36 +53 79

3 Arsenal 36 +39 72

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May 2 - Gerrard 'gifts' Chelsea title

Chelsea are struggling to make any impact at Anfield where they know they have to win when a stray Steven Gerrard backpass gifts Drogba the opening goal. Liverpool are deflated, Chelsea take command and finish it off with a second by Frank Lampard to leave them needing just a home win over Wigan to take the title. The win gives the Blues a clean sweep of wins home and away over all of the other 'big four' teams.

May 9 - Chelsea romp to title

Chelsea secure the title in magnificent fashion by destroying 10-man Wigan Athletic 8-0 in a party atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, improving the record set against Stoke. Didier Drogba netted a hat-trick to finish top of the Premier League scoring charts with 29 goals as Carlo Ancelotti's rampant side edged an intriguing title race by point from Manchester United, who beat Stoke City 4-0 on the final day.

Final Premier League table

P Team PL GD PTS

1 Chelsea 38 +71 86

2 Man United 38 +58 85

3 Arsenal 38 +42 75

Eurosport / Reuters

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