Berbatov sends United back on top

Striker ends goal drought with five as Manchester United crush Blackburn 7-1 in the English Premier League.

    A good day for the Bulgarian - Berbatov slots in United's seventh goal [GALLO/GETTY]

    Dimitar Berbatov scored five goals as a rampant Manchester United stormed to the top of the English Premier League with a 7-1 win over Blackburn at Old Trafford on Saturday.

    United moved three points clear of rivals Chelsea after Berbatov, eclipsing team mate Wayne Rooney in the England striker's first league start since the beginning of October, broke his goal drought to become only the fourth player to score five goals in a Premier League match.

    Chelsea can reclaim the lead at Newcastle United on Sunday. Earlier Arsenal had enjoyed a brief spell in first place after beating Aston Villa 4-2 in the day's early match.

    Manchester City's title challenge suffered a blow as Stoke's Matthew Etherington earned a 1-1 draw with a late equaliser.

    West Ham eased the pressure on boss Avram Grant and boosted their survival hopes with a 3-1 win over Wigan at Upton Park.

    Unbeaten United now have 31 points from 15 games to Arsenal's 29. Carlo Ancelotti's misfiring Chelsea, who have lost three of their last four Premier League encounters, fell to third overall with 28 points from 14. City stay fourth on 26 points.


    Berbatov wasted no time in getting his name on the scoresheet, taking his first from close range in the second minute and his second in the 27th. It was Berbatov's first goal in 11 matches since his hat-trick against Liverpool in September.

    Manager Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to praise Berbatov and the team effort.

    "There was some great football attached to those goals and getting off the mark early I think helped him (Berbatov) because he hadn't scored for 10 games," he told Sky Sports.

    "And that does prey on strikers' minds because that's the way they are."

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday November 27

     Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal
     Bolton 2-2 Blackpool
     Everton 1-4 West Brom
     Fulham 1-1 Birmingham
     Man Utd 7-1 Blackburn
     Stoke 1-1 Man City
     West Ham 3-1 Wigan
     Wolves 3-2 Sunderland

    Sunday November 28

     Newcastle v Chelsea
     Tottenham v Liverpool

    Berbatov's fourth goal, again lashed in from close range, came in the 62nd and the fifth eight minutes later.

    South Korean forward Park Ji-sung had made it 2-0 in the 23rd while Nani scored United's fifth in the 48th with Blackburn, taken over this month by Indian poultry giant Venky's, taking a roasting.

    Chris Samba took a late consolation goal with a header seven minutes from time.

    Arsenal got back on track at the end of a traumatic week.

    The Gunners crashed 2-0 at Braga in the Champions League in midweek, just days after blowing a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at home to north London rivals Tottenham.

    But Andrey Arshavin opened the scoring in the 39th minute and Samir Nasri increased Arsenal's lead six minutes later.

    Ciaran Clark's 52nd minute strike briefly gave Villa some hope before Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh poked in the third goal.

    Clark scored again from close-range in the 70th minute but Jack Wilshere sealed the points with a diving header in stoppage time.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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