Hernandez, Manchester United's Mexican forward (l), scored the opening goal at Old Trafford [AFP] 

Manchester United have opened up a three point lead in the English Premier League with a 2-1 win at home to Stoke City.

The Red Devils took the lead in Tuesday evening's match with Javier Hernandez, the Mexican forward, sneaking in a superb flick.

Stoke then drew level after half-time when Dean Whitehead connected with a Tuncay cross to head in.

However, United's Brazilian midfielder Nani won the game with an unstoppable left-foot shot from the edge-of the penalty area in the 63rd minute.

Tight at top

The victory gives United some space at the top of the league, ahead of second-place city rivals Manchester City, who have played one game more.

Manchester City travel to play a crunch-match on Wednesday at third-placed Arsenal, who are currently five points behind United having played the same number of games.

Also on Tuesday night, Fulham won at home to West Bromwich Albion 3-0.

Simon Davies scored with a 30-yard strike just before the break to open the scoring for Fulham.

Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland then both scored with headers after the interval to secure the win for the London club.

Both teams are struggling but the win pulled Fulham out of the relegation zone up to 13th in the table.

West Brom remain in a precarious position, two places and two points above the drop-zone.

However, both West Brom and Fulham are on the same number of points, 22, showing how little separates the teams in the bottom third of the table.

In the other game of the evening, Birmingham City won 2-1 away from home at northern side Blackpool.

Central defender Scott Dunn scored in the final minute of normal time to win the game for Birmingham.

The game was frenetic and the exciting finish will lift Birmingham supporters after their recent 3-0 loss to Arsenal.

However, Birmingham languish in 15th place in the table, with Blackpool, who were promoted to the EPL last season and were widely tipped to go straight back down, in a healthier 11th place having played fewer games.

Wednesday's schedule of games has Arsenal vs Manchester City as its top billing, but those at the top of the table will also be keeping an eye on Chelsea, who travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Everton host Tottenham Hotspur in what will potentially be a pulsating game.

Source: Agencies