Chelsea slip up in title race

Chelsea slip up in title race

Palace shock Londoners; Rooney's brace powers Man United

Chelsea's Premier League title ambitions took a major hit on Saturday when a John Terry own goal condemned the leaders to a shock 1-0 defeat at lowly Crystal Palace.

As Chelsea sank to their first defeat by Palace in 24 years, reigning champions Manchester United ended a week of turmoil with a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa thanks to two goals by England striker Wayne Rooney. Terry headed a Joel Ward cross into his own goal early in the second half, amid suggestions it touched Palace defender Joe Ledley's hand on the way in.

Chelsea remained top of the table with 69 points, one ahead of Liverpool who can go top when they play Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Goals to England trio Jay Rodriguez (2), Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana helped Southampton cruise to a 4-0 win over a toothless Newcastle United, while a Jonathan de Guzman double and a Wayne Routledge strike saw Swansea beat Norwich City 3-0 for only their third win in 18 matches.

Peter Odemwingie's scoring streak since joining Stoke City continued as he registered the only goal of the match in a 1-0 win over Hull City, while Cardiff fought back from going two  down to draw 3-3 at fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion.  

Inspirational Rooney

The Old Trafford crowd had cause to grumble when Ashley Westwood put Villa ahead with a 13th minute free-kick.

Rooney headed United level six minutes later before putting them ahead from the penalty spot just before half-time as he went fourth in the all-time Premier League scoring charts.
Christian Benteke missed two glorious chances to draw Villa level before Spaniard Juan Mata scored his first goal since his 37 million pound ($61.56 million) move from Chelsea in January.

Mexican substitute Javier Hernandez rounded off the win in injury time as United moved to 54 points, nine off fourth-placed Arsenal in the final Champions League spot.

The win was a much-needed boost ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal against holders Bayern Munich.

Westwood provided an immediate setback when he curled in a perfectly-placed free-kick that keeper David De Gea could only help into the net, following Rafael's rash challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor. The goal was a wake-up call for the hosts, who drew level six minutes later when Shinji Kagawa found an unmarked Rooney in the box.

The England striker headed home off the post for his 14th goal of the season. Rooney and Kagawa continued to look lively, as did Mata, and while Villa posed a threat through Benteke and Westwood, the home trio combined to put United ahead just before the break.

Japanese international Kagawa threaded a ball through to Mata, who was cut down in the box by Leandro Bacuna, and Rooney gave Brad Guzan no chance from the penalty spot. Villa rued some early misses when Mata scored, finishing from close range just before the hour after Marouane Fellaini held the ball up in the box, although Guzan denied Rooney a hat-trick.

Hernandez added the final flourish, getting his foot on the end of Adnan Januzaj's enticing cross as United won their first league game at home since late January.