English Premiership

United stay top after win

2011-02-02 06:57
Wayne Rooney (AP)
London - Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United remained five points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 3-1 win at home to Aston Villa on Tuesday.

For much of the night it looked as if United might extend their lead but second-placed Arsenal came from behind to beat Everton 2-1 at the Emirates and so stay in touch with Sir Alex Ferguson's unbeaten side.

England striker Rooney's first minute goal - his first in open play in the Premier League in 11 months - gave the hosts the ideal start at Old Trafford.

Rooney controlled United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar's long goalkick downfield before unleashing a 20-yard dipping shot past Brad Friedel.

The former Everton forward then doubled United's lead on the stroke of half-time when he turned in Nani's cross from close range.

Darren Bent, a £24 million transfer window capture from Sunderland, gave Villa hope with a 58th minute goal before United defender Nemanja Vidic blasted an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net five minutes later.

Louis Saha fired Everton into a 24th minute lead against Arsenal, although the French striker appeared to be several yards offside.

But Arsenal grabbed a 70th minute equaliser through Andrey Arshavin after the Russia international latched onto Cesc Fabregas's ball over the top.

And the Gunners completed their revival 15 minutes from time when unmarked defender Laurent Koscielny headed in a Robin van Persie corner.

English champions Chelsea, still 10 points behind United, came from a goal down to win 4-2 at Sunderland.

Blues captain John Terry made it 3-2 on the hour mark after Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon could only parry Frank Lampard's initial shot before striker Nicolas Anelka put the result beyond doubt in the 90th minute.

Four goals were scored in a remarkable first-half at the Stadium of Light.

It took Sunderland just four minutes to open the scoring, with Phil Bardsley's swerving shot deceiving Petr Cech.

But Chelsea equalised through Lampard's 15th minute penalty after Ahmed Elmohamady was ruled to have climbed over Ashley Cole in the box.

And eight minutes later Chelsea were in front when Scotland international Gordon made up Salomon Kalou's mind by misguidedly rushing off his line.

However, Steve Bruce's side were back on level terms in the 26th minute when, after Elmohamady was fouled by John Obi Mikel on the edge of the area, former Manchester United midfielder Kieran Richardson saw his 20-yard free-kick go under the Chelsea wall and past a flat-footed Cech.

In Tuesday's other Premier League match, Wigan remained in the relegation zone after a 2-2 draw away to West Brom.

Nigeria forward Peter Odemwingie gave the Baggies a fifth minute lead but Charles N'Zogbia's deflected free-kick drew visitors Wigan level in the 20th minute.

Another free-kick, from Ben Watson, gave Wigan the lead two minutes before half-time but the Baggies grabbed a point through Marc-Antoine Fortune's late header.

Manchester City can leapfrog Arsenal into second place if they win away to Birmingham on Wednesday when Liverpool, fresh from signing Andy Carroll for a club record £35 million, face Stoke.

Read more on:    epl  |  wayne rooney  |  manchester united
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