United halfway home

Manchester United stay two points ahead of Chelsea with a win over Aston Villa.

Wayne Rooney, left, came off the bench afterbeing rested by the manager [AFP]
Wayne Rooney, left, came off the bench afterbeing rested by the manager [AFP]

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, praised his side for the way they bounced back from last weekend’s shock 1-0 defeat to West Ham.
“It’s always a test when you lose a game. But we’ve answered it in the right way. It was a fantastic performance against a very good Aston Villa team,” said Ferguson.
The United manager said he had rested start striker Wayne Rooney for the game because of his stressful week.
“He’s played 11 games in a row and he missed two days training this week because of a family bereavement. I felt it was a good time to give him a rest,” Ferguson added.
“This proves we shouldn’t listen to Jose [Mourinho] too much because he said we wouldn’t be top of the league at Christmas.”

Jose’s century

Mourinho got his 100th win as Chelsea manager but his side came close to throwing away a two goal lead over Wigan.

Emile Heskey’s double strike had cancelled out early goals from Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou but Arjen Robben beat keeper Chris Kirkland with a 20-yard strike two minutes into stoppage time to hand the Blues all three points.

Liverpool remain in third place and undefeated at home after a 2-0 win over bottom of the table Watford.

Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy, right, scored
his fourth goal in four games [AFP]

Craig Bellamy gave the Reds the lead in the 47th minute when he took a pass from midfielder Steven Gerrard before chipping the ball over goalkeeper Ben Foster for his fifth league goal, and fourth in four games.

Midfielder Xabi Alonso sealed the win with a long, curling shot with two minutes left.

There were goals galore at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal remained unbeaten at their new home beating Blackburn Rovers 6-2.

Shabani Nonda scored a penalty to give Blackburn the lead in the second minute after Arsenal defender Kolo Toure fouled David Bentley but Gilberto Silva responded for the home side eight minutes later.

Alexander Hleb made it 2-1 in the 23rd. Striker Emmanuel Adebayor notched his fourth goal in five games in the 27th.

Nonda put the pressure back on Arsenal when he made it 3-2 in the 69th minute before the last six minutes saw Robin Van Persie score two goals and Mathieu Flamini one.

The Gunners stayed in fourth while Rovers dropped to 17th.

Nicolas Anelka scored twice in his first return to the City of Light stadium as Bolton beat Manchester City 2-0.

Frank Lampard, centre, gave Chelsea
an early lead over Wigan

The French striker scored with a shot from the right side of the penalty box in the eighth, before clinching it with his fifth league goal of the season in the 25th.

Newcastle continued to move up the table with their fourth straight win at St James Park, a 3-1 win over Tottenham.

Kieron Dyer curled in a right-footed shot from the edge of the box in the third minute before Obafemi Martins headed in a cross from Scott Parker made it two seven minutes later.

Spurs midfielder Danny Murphy pulled a goal back for the visitors but Parker scored Newcastle’s third on 34 minutes to wrap things up before half-time.

Pompey fight back

Portsmouth came from behind to beat Sheffield United 3-1.

Rob Hulse headed in a cross from Derek Geary in the fourth as the visitors looked set to make it five straight matches without a loss.
But an own-goal from defender Robert Kozluk in the 48th encouraged Portsmouth, and defender Sol Campbell headed in a corner from Matthew Taylor six minutes later.

Noe Pamarot headed in a pass for 3-1 from Pedro Mendes in the 67th to send Sheffield down to 16th.

Andy Johnson and James McFadden scored to give Everton a 2-0 win over Reading.

Johnson volleyed in a cross from Mikel Arteta for his first goal in 12 games, before McFadden secured the three points scoring off a Johnson pass in the 47th.

West Ham failed to score an away goal for an eighth consecutive time as they drew 0-0 with Fulham.

Charlton got sucked further into the relegation battle after a 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough.

Striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu opened the scoring with a left-footed shot from the centre of the area in the 29th before Julio Arca headed in from the edge of the box in the 52nd.

Source: News Agencies

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