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28/01/2009 22:45, Report by Ben Hibbs

Rivals drop points

United now have a game in hand and a two-point advantage over second-placed Chelsea and third-placed Liverpool.



The Reds sent out an emphatic message to the two title rivals with a 5-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, and while Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 2-0 on Wednesday, Liverpool could only manage a 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic.

Rafael Benitez's side had taken the lead through Yossi Benayoun, but Mido's 83rd-minute penalty levelled matters and further dented Liverpool's increasingly ailing title hopes.

Chelsea, who moved up to second with their victory over Boro, are widely recognised as having a stronger squad than Liverpool and could again emerge as United's main challengers to the Premier League crown. Salomon Kalou scored twice for Luiz Felipe Scolari's men against a Middlesbrough side who have now gone 11 matches without a win and remain in the bottom three.

Elsewhere, United's opponents on Saturday, Everton, were unlucky to only pick up a point against Arsenal as Robin van Persie's stunning injury-time strike levelled the scores after Tim Cahill's header had given David Moyes' men the lead.

The Gunners appear well out of the running now, with fourth-placed Aston Villa five points in front of Arsene Wenger's side after their 1-0 win over Portsmouth this week.

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