Hernandez keeps United on top, Chelsea stay in touch

LONDON, April 24, 2011 (AFP) - Manchester United remain six points clear at the top of the Premier League as Javier Hernandez's late goal clinched a 1-0 win over Everton, while Fernando Torres broke his Chelsea duck in a 3-0 victory against West Ham on Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side found it tough to break down a resolute Everton defence and looked in danger of dropping two points at Old Trafford, but Mexican striker Hernandez ended the stalemate with a close-range header seven minutes from full-time.

AFP - Javier Hernandez in action during the game

Second placed Chelsea responded in the day's late match but, with just four games to play, Ferguson is confident his side can end the title race by beating Arsenal, who travel to Bolton on Sunday, and Chelsea in their next two matches.

"The thing that puzzles me is people keep saying Arsenal and Chelsea have got to play us still, like we're going to lose to them...why shouldn't we win those games?" he said.

"There are only four games left and the way the players are going about their business gives them an outstanding chance of success."

Everton felt aggrieved that referee Peter Walton didn't give a penalty early in the second half when Rio Ferdinand tugged back Victor Anichebe.

But United finally made the breakthrough in the 83rd minute when Antonio Valencia's cross to the far post was headed in by Hernandez from virtually on the goal-line.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea secured their seventh win in eight league matches to stay in touch with United and leave West Ham bottom of the table.

Former West Ham midfielder Lampard put Carlo Ancelotti's side ahead in the 44th minute when he lashed in Ashley Cole's cross.

Torres came off the bench to score impressively in the 84th minute - his first goal in 13 matches since his British record £50 million transfer from Liverpool - while Florent Malouda netted in stoppage time.

Ancelotti said: "What a perfect day. Everyone has been waiting for Fernando to score and finally he did it. From today, he will have fantastic future at this club."

Tottenham wasted a chance to leapfrog fourth-placed Manchester City as West Bromwich Albion secured a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.

Albion took the lead in the fifth minute through Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie.

Roman Pavlyuchenko equalised in the 27th minute and Jermain Defoe hit his 100th Premier League goal in the 66th minute to put Spurs ahead.

But Simon Cox equalised for Albion in the 81st minute and Spurs are now one point behind City, who travel to Blackburn on Monday.

Liverpool's resurgence under Kenny Dalglish continued as Maxi Rodriguez's hat-trick inspired a 5-0 win against Birmingham at Anfield.

Dalglish's sixth-placed team took just seven minutes to open the scoring through Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt increased Liverpool's advantage in the 23rd minute.

Rodriguez got his second goal in the 66th minute and the Argentina midfielder completed his treble in the 73rd minute before Joe Cole struck in the 86th minute.

Blackpool climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle at Bloomfield Road.

Peter Lovenkrands fired Newcastle into a 17th minute lead but DJ Campbell headed the 32nd minute equaliser and Blackpool are now ahead of third bottom Wigan on goal difference.

Sunderland eased their relegation fears with a 4-2 victory over Wigan at the Stadium of Light.

Steve Bruce's side had lost eight of their last nine games and they were heading for another defeat when Mohamed Diame put Wigan ahead in the 52nd minute.

But Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan equalised three minutes later and Jordan Henderson netted in the 66th minute.

Stephane Sessegnon scored a 73rd minute penalty and Henderson struck again four minutes later before Franco Di Santo got one back for Wigan.

Second bottom Wolves' hopes of avoiding relegation were dented as Fulham drew 1-1 at Molineux.

Steven Fletcher put Wolves in front but Andrew Johnson levelled in the 80th minute.

Aston Villa couldn't give ill boss Gerard Houllier, who has been hospitalised with chest pains, a much-needed tonic as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke.

Kenwyne Jones scored for Stoke but Darren Bent equalised in 43rd minute.

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