Top three all win in England

It's a day for the favourites in the English Premier League.

    The hair dryer: Sir Alex Ferguson roars his team on
    from the sidelibes [GALLO/GETTY]
    There was a ring of familiarity in the English Premiership as Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo again scored late to keep Manchester United at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Reading.

    It didn’t end there as the top three and bottom three all remained the same after a day’s results.

    Title rival Arsenal kept pace with the Red Devils with a 3-0 win at London rival Fulham behind two goals from Emmanuel Adebayor, putting both teams on 54 points with United ahead on goal difference.

    "You start to worry when a game goes on and on whether you're going to get the goal," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said.

    "It's taken a lovely flick from Wayne Rooney to open it up for us.''

    Chelsea remained four points from the leaders with a 1-0 win at Birmingham, while most of the focus was on Saturday's late game, when Kevin Keegan began his second stint as Newcastle manager with a drab 0-0 draw against Bolton.

    "You hoped it wouldn't be a 0-0 type of game,'' Keegan said.

    "The stadium was rocking but Bolton came here and were very well disciplined and very well organised by (Bolton manager) Gary (Megson) and we weren't good enough to break them down.''

    On Sunday, Manchester City hosts West Ham and Everton is at Wigan.

    Liverpool hosts Aston Villa on Monday.

    Rooney took a cross from Carlos Tevez in the 77th minute to poke the ball past Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hanhemann, who had kept out numerous United attempts.

    Ronaldo made it 2-0 on a counter attack in the 90th, for his 17th Premier League goal this season.

    "Credit to Reading, they had a fantastic energy in the team,'' Ferguson said.

    "They keep going at you. They really make you work and I think it was a very important result for us.''

    Reading, managed by former Manchester United midfielder Steve Coppell, held United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in the opening round of the season.

    Arsenal has not lost a game this season when Adebayor has scored and the Togo striker put the Gunners ahead 2-0 by halftime.

    He headed in his first goal after taking a cross from Gael Clichy in the 19th minute and took a cross from Aleksandr Hleb to head in his second goal, and 15th in the Premier League this season, in the 38th.

    Tomas Rosicky volleyed in Arsenal's third in the 81st.

    The Gunners lost the league lead last week when it drew 1-1 with Birmingham.

    "We are very, very ambitious and the way we came on the pitch today after the disappointing result of last week gives you a strong message about how much this team wants it,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

    Kevin Keegan: No miracles in Game One
    Keegan's return ends goalless

    Delighted Newcastle fans hailed the return of the man they dubbed the 'Messiah' this week, but Keegan's patched-up side struggled against Bolton, aking more than an hour get a shot on target.

    And it was Bolton that nearly scored the winner through Jlloyd Samuel in the 90th minute, but Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given produced a reflex save to block the best chance of the match.

    "There was plenty of effort, plenty of endeavor, trying so hard, maybe too hard, to make things happen,'' Keegan said.

    "We missed a lot players today. Take that into consideration and forget the hype and it's actually quite a good result for us.''

    Chelsea started new signing Nicolas Anelka for the first time, but didn't break through the Birmingham defense until the 80th minute, when a corner from Juliano Belletti was headed in by Claudio Pizzaro.

    Benjani Mwaruwari: Hat-trick hero
    Harry happy Benjani's out of Africa

    Benjani Mwaruwari scored a hat trick for Portsmouth in their 3-1 win over the doomed Derby, finding the net in the 38th, 42nd and 55th minutes after Derby had scored an early goal through Lewin Nytanga.

    Zimbabwe's Mwaruwari, whose side's didn't qualify for the tournament in Ghana, equalised by hitting the roof of the net and then gave Portsmouth the lead with a header after Derby failed to clear a corner.

    He scored his third after playing a one-two with Pedro Mendes.

    Portsmouth started new midfielder Lassana Diarra but played without defender and captain Sol Campbell, who dropped out before the match with a back injury.

    Tottenham remained the bottom half of the table despite their 2-0 over Sunderland who stay in the drop zone.

    Aaron Lennon scored for Spurs in the second minute in his 100th appearance for the club.

    Robbie Keane made it 2-0 in injury time with his 100th goal for Tottenham.

    Middlesbrough moved up one place, but remain very much in the relgation battle after their 1-1 draw with Blackburn.

    Defender David Wheater put Middlesbrough in front in the 13th with a header after a free kick from Stewart Downing.

    The Teesiders were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal when Blackburn levelled in the 75th, with Matt Derbyshire scoring from a pass from Jason Roberts.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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