Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1

Last updated : 18 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Diego Forlan, the man who combines match winning goals with the inability to put on his football shirt, struck at the death to keep Manchester United breathing down the neck of Premiership leaders Arsenal.

It looked as though Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would have the perfect start to his weekend.

As his two closest rivals looked set to drop points in their Old Trafford clash, Wenger would have been looking at the prospect of a seven-point lead at the top with victory over lowly West Ham at Highbury tomorrow.

But if he thought that, he had not bargained on the exploits of Forlan.

With two of the three minutes of injury time played, fellow sub Juan Sebastian Veron chipped the perfect 20-yard pass into the Chelsea box.

Forlan acted quicker than those in both red and blue shirts around him to control the ball and crash a thunderous right-foot shot high into the roof of the net from ten yards.

It was the Uruguayan's sixth league goal of the season, with five of them winning eight points for the Reds.

In his usual shirt off celebration, Forlan again had trouble getting it back on, but nobody in red really cared.

In a strange game, well short of the excitement linked with this clash of giants, Chelsea had the better of the first half.

Chances were few and far between, but it was no surprise when the Londoners went ahead on the half hour.

Emmanuel Petit robbed Phil Neville 40 yards from goal and played the ball to Gianfranco Zola.

The Italian returned the pass to Petit who put the ball past Roy Keane and into the path of Eidur Gudjohnsen, who flicked it right footed from 10 yards over United keeper Fabien Barthez.

United came back with their first chance of the game nine minutes later.

Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini's attempt to stop a poor back pass going out for a corner went only as far as David Beckham on the right.

The England captain, a virtual spectator until then, produced a brilliant in-swinging cross from the touchline which saw Paul Scholes rise and send a header from six yards thundering into the back of the Chelsea net.

United shook off their heavy legs after the interval.

In the 52nd minute, Beckham drove in a cross from the left and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked away in disbelief as his shot from ten yards bounced against a Chelsea post.

A minute later, Carlo Cudicini came to his side's rescue.

Beckham produced another pinpoint cross that was met by Ruud van Nistelrooy ten-yards out with the Chelsea goalkeeper diving to his right to make a fine save from the Dutchman's header.

But the day itself belonged to Forlan....and how he celebrated!