Manchester United fall even further from league elite with Chelsea loss
By Rob Harris ,AP
January 21, 2014, 12:09 am TWN
LONDON -- Manchester United's title defense faltered further as a Samuel Eto'o-inspired Chelsea cast the champions further adrift from the Premier League elite with a 3-1 victory Sunday.
While Chelsea stayed two points behind leader Arsenal courtesy of Eto'o's hat trick, seventh-place United slipped 14 points from the summit this weekend.
And the gap from the Champions League places is growing as well, with Liverpool six points ahead in fourth. Tottenham is level on points with Liverpool, but behind on goal difference after beating Swansea 3-1 in Sunday's other game.
Changing managers has revitalized Tottenham, with Tim Sherwood collecting 16 out of 18 points since replacing Andre Villas-Boas, while David Moyes has now has overseen seven league losses this season after succeeding Alex Ferguson — two more than last year's title-winning campaign.
"It's a difficult task, but (it's about) perseverance and keeping doing what's right," Moyes said. "I thought we did a lot of good things today. We have players to come back, and this is a project I know that I'm going to improve as it goes along.
"I was hoping to win more and be competing a bit more than we've been, but that'll come."
Having made a strong start, United was stunned by Chelsea going ahead against the run of play in the 17th minute.
Eto'o cut in from the right, swept past Phil Jones and unleashed a shot that took a heavy deflection off Michael Carrick's boot before looping over goalkeeper David de Gea into the net.
"They started the match better than us and they were a bit unlucky that we scored in that moment," Mourinho said. "When you are better than the opponent, you have to go and try to kill the game."
United squandered a chance to level in the 38th. Adnan Januzaj's cross reached Danny Welbeck in a central position but the striker couldn't produce a clean shot.
Oscar then tried to double the lead with a bicycle kick that flew over from right in front of goal, and instead Chelsea's second came from the boot of Eto'o again.