(CNN)Premier League leaders Chelsea took a huge step towards the EPL title thanks to a closely fought 1-0 victory over third-placed Manchester United Saturday.
EPL title in sight as Chelsea claim narrow win over Manchester United
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Eden Hazard scored the only goal of the game as United struggled to break down a resolute Chelsea rearguard.
The match saw a one-time managerial apprentice meet his former master as Jose Mourinho's Blues took on Louis Van Gaal's Red Devils.
The former had assisted the latter at Barcelona in the late 90s before going on to a highly successful coaching career in his own right at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and now Chelsea again.
Mourinho has spoken glowingly of Van Gaal, a man he still considers a close friend, on numerous occasions in recent seasons. But there was no quarter given in this tense affair as both sides battled for victory.
United is desperate to finish in the top four in order to secure Champions League football once more while Chelsea is keen to wrap up its first title since 2010.
The result means the Blues will now be crowned champions if it can win its next two fixtures. First up is a trip to second-placed Arsenal next weekend before it visits relegation threatened Leicester City.
"Six games to play, three at home three away. Every game is difficult, every team needs points. But our situation is very good," said Mourinho when speaking to Sky Sports after the match.
"I feel we are almost there but there are no almosts in football," he added.
Hazard's goal just before halftime allowed Chelsea to sit deep in the second period and give little away.
The twinkle-toed Belgian midfielder had slotted under David De Gea in the United goal after being played through by a delightful backheel pass from Oscar.
United huffed and puffed in the second period as they attempted to find a way back into the game.
Wayne Rooney had a shot deflected wide when set up by Marouane Fellaini while Falcao fired a shot against the outside of the post from a tight angle.
This hustle was enough to please Van Gaal even if the result did not.
"In my opinion it was the best performance we have had this season," the Dutchman said.
"We were not effective because we have created, despite the defensive organization of Chelsea, three chances in the first half and eight in the second half.
"That is unbelievably good. We were the dominant team on the pitch but we lose. Everything is the result.
United, which has been in strong form in recent weeks as it defeated regional rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, will now look to bounce back at Everton next weekend.
In the days other fixtures, Leicester City's great escape gathered pace as it won 2-0 at home to Swansea City. The result marks a third win on the bounce for Nigel Pearson's men who move up to 17th position.
Everton's fine run of form continued with a 1-0 home victory over Burnley which drops to bottom position.
Stoke City came from behind to defeat Southampton 2-1 with goals from Mame Biram Diouf and Charlie Adam.
Meanwhile, in-form Crystal Palace suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion which eases clear of the relegation zone into 13th position.
Holders Arsenal made it through to the final of the FA Cup for the second year in a row thanks to a narrow 2-1 extra-time win over second tier Reading at Wembley.
Two goals from Alexis Sanchez, the second aided by a horrendous error from Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, ensured Arsene Wenger's men would be returning to Wembley next month.
The Gunners will face the winners of the other semifinal between Aston Villa and Liverpool which takes place Sunday.