Ferguson's men United above the rest
A Rooney hat-trick helps lift United to the top of league as opening games reveal a growing disparity between sides.
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2011 19:19
On a wing and a prayer: Bolton players grimace as Rooney rips apart their defence [EPA] 

Following on from their 8-2 thrasing of Arsenal, Manchester United continued to show their supremacy over their Premier League rivals with a crushing 5-0 victory over Bolton on Saturday.

In the earlier afternoon kick-offs, Manchester City extended their great run of form with a 3-0 win over Wigan and rivals Chelsea kept up the pace with victory over Sunderland.

Wayne Rooney's second consecutive hat-trick saw United reclaim top spot in the Premier League after losing it to City for just a few hours.

Rooney, who scored a treble in the demolition of Arsenal, scored twice before the break to set Alex Ferguson's side on the way. The England striker then scored his third in the second half as his efforts, along with a brace from Javier Hernandez, mean United have scored 18 times in their four opening league games.

Both Manchester clubs have signalled that this year's duel for the title will be a two-horse race, but it is United who lead the way at this early stage on goal difference.

Mind the gap

It was an afternoon where the old guard shone alongside a new generation of stars as Rooney combined brilliantly with Hernandez and summer signing Phil Jones.

Ferguson fielded an arguably stronger line-up than the one that hammered Arsenal at Old Trafford in their last match before the international break.

Mexican Hernandez returned to partner Rooney in place of Danny Welbeck, while Rio Ferdinand replaced Chris Smalling in the centre of defence.

English Results

Saturday September 10

 Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
 Everton 2-2 Aston Villa 
 Man City 3-0 Wigan
 Stoke 1 -0 Liverpool 
 Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea
 Wolves 0-2 Tottehnham 
 Bolton 0-5 Man Utd

The architect of this latest victory, perhaps even more so than Rooney, was Nani. His hat-trick of assists, and two more from the impressive Jones, was as much a part of this triumph as the fine finishing of Rooney and Hernandez.

While the glowing performance of United was a joy to watch, it is already becoming clear how far ahead United are from the rest of the pack.

With an average of over four goals per game this season, it is likely that only Man City and Chelsea will have the resources and firepower to challenge Ferguson's men for the title, or even a one-off win.

Many of the smaller teams in the league will be quivering at the thought of being humbled by Rooney and co. 

The start of this season contrasts with United's opening few games of the 2010/11 season where they struggled to get victories away from home and the best out of Wayne Rooney.

However, times have changed and boosted by the arrival of Ashley Young and Phil Jones United are in blistering form and look set to crush many of their opponents.

United and Man City are bringing a glut of goals to the Premier League and new signings from across the world have taken these sides to the next level.

But the growing disparity between the top and bottom sides has already started to show. 

We may like to watch the goals fly in but perhaps not at the expense of competition. 

One worries whether this gap could lead to a predictable run of results between teams who are in the same league but now from very different worlds.   



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