Manchester United win third straight Premier League title

May 17th, 2009 - 12:25 am ICT by IANS  

Arsenal London, May 16 (DPA) Manchester United clinched their third consecutive Premier League title with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal Saturday.
The point gave United an unassailable seven-point lead over Liverpool at the top, with their rivals having just two games to go.

At the other end of the table, Hull City moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a 1-1 draw at Bolton, lifting them one point above Newcastle, who were beaten 0-1 at home by Fulham.

Middlesbrough are in desperate trouble after they could only draw 1-1 with Aston Villa, leaving them three points away from safety, but with an inferior goal difference to their rivals.

United survived a nervous last few minutes to clinch a 0-0 draw with Arsenal that ensured history for the Old Trafford side.

“That was the longest 90 minutes in history,” United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. “There was only one save in the match - Van der Sar five minutes from the end. That tells you it was a cautious match.

“But it’s a great side, a great squad. I could have picked two teams today.

For Ferguson and winger Ryan Giggs, it is their 11th league crown, while United have now won 18 league titles, equalling the record held by Liverpool.

Striker Wayne Rooney, an integral part of United’s side throughout the season, admitted that the battle with Liverpool had been intense.

“Liverpool gave us a really good run this year,” Rooney said. “It was great to be involved in, and great to win it. It’s been a great season for us.

Cristiano Ronaldo echoed Rooney’s words, saying: “It’s a fantastic achievement, to win the league is always a priority.

“It’s brilliant, the feeling is always brilliant, we’re really happy today.”

United had to survive a few nervous moments at the end as Arsenal chased a winner that would have rocked United’s title bid, with Cesc Fabregas shaving the post and Robin van Persie smashing a couple of efforts at goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

But despite being far from their best, United held on and now have the chance to complete a league and European Cup double if they can beat Barcelona in the final later this month.

Ferguson had promised that United would play to win rather than just settling for a point but his side were unusually flat and did not manage a single shot on goal in the match, though Ronaldo did go incredibly close late on with a free kick.

Arsenal were more adventurous and Van Persie headed over, while Kieran Gibbs hit the side-netting but in truth neither side threatened a goal, bar a couple of late attempts.

As the time ticked down, United became more and more defensive and were almost undone when Arsenal played Fabregas in on the left but his shot just shaved the post.

In the last minute, Van Persie had the chance to whip in a free kick from the right side of the box, but Michael Carrick got his body in the way, and United held on, sparking celebrations in the Old Trafford crowd.

Hull gave their survival hopes a massive boost as they drew 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers, where Craig Fagan’s second-half goal equalized Gretar Steinsson’s early opener.

The point could prove crucial for Phil Brown’s side, who are now one point better off than ten-man Newcastle, who were beaten 1-0 at home by Fulham.

Diomansy Kamara scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game, while Newcastle had a Mark Viduka goal ruled out and Sebastien Bassong was sent off for a foul on Kamara.

Middlesbrough are in even greater trouble, three points away from safety, but with a goal difference four inferior to that of Hull.

Tuncay fired them ahead with a brilliant overhead kick but John Carew equalized and left Middlesbrough staring relegation in the face.

Bottom side West Bromwich Albion are a point adrift at the bottom with two games to go — the first of which is at home to Liverpool Sunday.

In the day’s other games, Everton beat West Ham United 3-1, Tottenham Hotspur edged out Manchester City 2-1 and Stoke City saw off Wigan Athletic 2-0.

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