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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chelsea routs Wigan, claims Premier title

LONDON (AP) Chelsea regained the Premier League title from Manchester United with a 8-0 victory over Wigan on Sunday with Didier Drogba scoring three times.

News photo
Offensive onslaught: Chelsea's Didier Drogba (top right) scores with a header, his team's fifth goal of the day, against Wigan in their Premier League match on Sunday at Stamford Bridge. Drogba scored three goals in Chelsea's 8-0 triumph as the Londoners clinched the title. AP PHOTO

Even though United finished the campaign with a 4-0 victory over Stoke at Old Trafford, the big celebrations were at Stamford Bridge. Goals by Drogba, two by Nicolas Anelka and one each by Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole left Chelsea champion by one point in manager Carlo Ancelotti's first season in English soccer.

It is Chelsea's third league title in six years — the others coming under Jose Mourinho in 2005 and '06 — and it prevented United from becoming the first team to win the English title four years in a row.

"After 1-0 today that was the first time I thought, 'Yes, that's ours,' " said Chelsea captain John Terry, whose private life brought distracting headlines to the club and led to him losing the England captaincy.

"Forget everything else, this is about Chelsea Football Club and our day today," Terry said. "It has been a hard three years not winning the Premiership and today we deserved it. It's been hurting inside of me for three years, seeing Man United lifting it season after season."

Now Ancelotti hopes to complete Chelsea's first league and F.A. Cup double by beating Portsmouth in Saturday's final at Wembley.

"There are a lot of things we're happy about," said the former AC Milan coach. "We're happy for this record, for Didier being the top scorer. But the most important thing is that we showed some good play.

"Mourinho did some fantastic work and won two titles consecutively. This is my first and I hope to do the same as Mourinho. Now we have the opportunity to win the double and I hope that my players can, after these celebrations."

Chelsea went into the final round one point ahead of United after a seesawing season. Although Darren Fletcher put United a goal up at Old Trafford in the 31st, within a minute it was 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard scored from the penalty spot for his 22nd league goal of the season after he had been brought down by Gary Caldwell. The Scottish defender was also sent off for the challenge, which made United's hopes of a Wigan comeback even slimmer.

Ryan Giggs scored a second for United before halftime but the goal celebrations were muted. News of further Chelsea goals made the atmosphere worse at Old Trafford, with United's fans turning their attention to chanting their opposition to the club's ownership by Malcolm Glazer and his family.

Outside Old Trafford before the game, fans let off at least one smoke bomb in protest at the Glazers, who have saddled the club with an enormous debt to finance their purchase of the club.

United manager Alex Ferguson saluted Ancelotti for his achievement.

"When we heard Wigan was down to 10 men, our hopes evaporated then," Ferguson said. "We know how difficult it is to win the Premier League and that's why we congratulate Carlo Ancelotti and his team.

"It's a great achievement to beat Manchester United. Losing this title makes you appreciate the achievement of winning the last three and also getting so near. We've got to try again."

Drogba finished the campaign as the leading scorer with 29 goals, three more than longtime leader Wayne Rooney, who failed to hit the target for Man United against Stoke and limped off the field with an injury.

Arsenal made sure of finishing third ahead of north London neighbor Tottenham with a 4-0 victory over a weakened Fulham side, which is headed for Wednesday's Europa League final against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg.

The victory means that Arsene Wenger's team, which has failed to win a trophy for the fifth season in a row, will now go straight into the group phase of the Champions League.

Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead after early strikes by Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to lose 4-2 at relegated Burnley and has to be satisfied with fourth place, its highest finish since placing third in 1990.

Bayern celebrates

MUNICH (AP) More than 25,000 fans celebrated Bayern Munich's 22nd German championship as the team's lederhosen-clad players sang and danced on the balcony of the city hall.

Sunday's festivities came one day after Bayern clinched the Bundesliga title with a 3-1 win at relegated Hertha Berlin.

Coach Louis van Gaal's team can still win two more titles. Bayern plays Werder Bremen next Saturday in the German Cup final in Berlin, and takes on Inter Milan in the Champions League final one week later in Madrid.

"We are the best in Germany and maybe in Europe too," a jubilant van Gaal said in addressing the crowd.

The coach was given a triumphant welcome after he and his players arrived to the ceremony in a convoy of convertibles through Munich's streets.

The celebrations began after the match in Berlin, continued in a Munich restaurant and finished early in the morning in a nightclub.

Van Gaal won his seventh championship in a third country after his native Netherlands and Spain and became the first Dutch coach to win the Bundesliga title.



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