Chelsea 3 Man United 0
Chelsea clinched a second successive Premiership title with victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho’s side needed only a point to put the seal on another title triumph, and William Gallas set them on their way with a fifth-minute header. Joe Cole added a brilliant individual goal on the hour and Ricardo Carvalho fired home Chelsea’s third. But the mood of celebration was dampened as England hope Wayne Rooney was stretchered off late on.
Chelsea boss Mourinho restored Cole and Arjen Robben to the side that lost the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. And with only a point needed to secure the title, Chelsea made the perfect start when they went ahead inside five minutes. Frank Lampard’s corner was knocked forward by Drogba and Gallas stole in to head past the stranded Edwin Van der Sar. There was a major scare for Chelsea and England two minutes later when John Terry was felled by a late tackle from international team-mate Rooney. Terry lay motionless for a lengthy period with what looked like a shin injury, but just as a stretcher was being brought out, he recovered and was able to continue after several minutes’ treatment.
Rooney was United’s main threat, and he almost capped a brilliant solo run with an equaliser after 21 minutes. He glided past Terry and Paulo Ferreira using Ji-Sung Park as a dummy runner, but pulled his shot wide with only Petr Cech to beat. And he brought another fine save from the keeper three minutes before half-time, Cech diving low to his right to save Rooney’s instant 20-yard drive. Chelsea almost got a second when Cole curled a finish inches wide after 54 minutes – but he made no mistake with a stunning individual effort six minutes later. Cole took out Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Mikael Silvestre with a single turn before racing on to fire high past Van der Sar. Desperate United boss Sir Alex Ferguson made a change after 64 minutes, sending on Ruud van Nistelrooy for the disappointing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rooney was then involved in an incident that casts a huge shadow over England’s World Cup plans with 15 minutes left. He stumbled into an innocuous challenge with Ferreira, but collapsed in again clutching the same right foot he broke against Portugal in Euro 2004. Rooney looked in agony as he was strapped on to a stretcher, leaving the field to sympathic applause from anxious fans of both sides.
Chelsea’s title party started in earnest at the final whistle, though the worries over Rooney were a worry for those celebrating as well as the United fans forced to accept their Premiership dreams were over for another season.