Sunday, November 19, 2006

Red Devils stay at the Top

The season`s one third the way through, and here`s how things currently stand:-

Wayne Rooney scored two goals Saturday for Manchester United to beat Sheffield United 2-1 and maintain their three-point lead atop the Premier League.

Rooney scored in the 30th and 75th minutes, rallying the Red Devils who fell behind to a 13th-minute goal by Keith Gillespie. It was Man United's seventh straight league victory.

Two-time defending champions Chelsea kept winning too, beating West Ham 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Geremi's 22nd-minute free kick.

Chelsea have never lost at Stamford Bridge in 51 games under manager Jose Mourinho.

Manchester United have 34 points, three more than Chelsea.

Portsmouth moved into third place with 23 points, rallying for a 2-1 victory on a late penalty in the 89th by Lomana LuaLua.

Arsenal slipped further off the pace, drawing 1-1 at home against struggling Newcastle for 22 points.

Kieron Dyer gave the Magpies a 1-0 lead in the 30th, and Thierry Henry -- rested in the first half by manager Arsene Wenger -- equalised in the 70th.

In other results on Saturday, it was: Everton 1, Bolton 0; Manchester City 3, Fulham 1; Reading 2, Charlton 0 and Middlesbrough 0, Liverpool 0.

On Sunday, Wigan play Aston Villa and Blackburn play Tottenham.

Man United manager Alex Ferguson credited his midfield for the victory.

"A certain maturity is helping us," Ferguson said. "I think Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes are using all that experience in the midfield, taking their time, being patient, probing away for opportunities.

"And when you've got front players like we've got -- if we get chances, one or two will take them."

Mourinho gave credit to Geremi, who seldom plays for the Blues but got the winner on a perfectly placed free kick.

"He [Geremi] takes free kicks, but he doesn't play a lot," Mourinho said. "He practises a lot, but I don't give him a lot of chances to play. So now I am giving him chances to play and he's playing well."

Wenger defended his decision to start Henry on the bench after he'd played for France a few days earlier.

"He was tired from the France game, and that was my decision," Wenger said. "You cannot play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday. It is impossible for one man."

Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta scored in the 60th, giving Everton a 1-0 victory over Bolton.

Man City, 3-1 winners over Fulham, put the game out of reach with three goals in the first half. Bernardo Corradi scored twice -- in the 12th and 32nd minutes -- with Joey Barton adding the third in injury time. Collins John scored in the 62nd for Fulham.

Reading continued to be the best of the promoted teams, beating last-place Charlton 2-0 on goals by Seol Ki-hyeon and Kevin Doyle.

Liverpool and Middlesbrough drew 0-0. It left the Reds with 18 points and Boro with 15. Liverpool have scored only one away goal in seven league games this season -- and that was from a penalty kick.

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