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Man United retain top spot as top 3 win
January 20, 2008 09:05 IST
United failed to put any daylight between themselves and Arsenal, however, with Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor scoring twice as the Gunners returned to form with a 3-0 rout of Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Third-placed Chelsea rode their luck to beat Birmingham City 1-0 away thanks to Claudio Pizarro's late header. They stay four points behind the top two who have 54 points from 23 matches.
There is a yawning gap to fourth-placed Liverpool who are facing a stiff battle for fourth spot with Everton, Aston Villa and Manchester City. All four clubs are on 39 points.
Liverpool, who have only played 21 matches, are at Villa on Monday, while Everton travel to Wigan Athletic on Sunday when Manchester City host West Ham United.
Kevin Keegan's homecoming party went flat when Newcastle United were held 0-0 by Bolton Wanderers in a torrid encounter at St James' Park.
"The stadium was rocking but in reality Bolton were very disciplined and we weren't good enough to break them down," Keegan, back for a second stint in charge, told Setanta Sport.
While the top three all won, the bottom three all lost.
Fulham are five points from safety while bottom club Derby County are 13 adrift after Portsmouth's Benjani Mwaruwari scored a hat-trick in Portsmouth's 3-1 victory.
Sunderland stay in the bottom three on goal difference after a 2-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur, for whom Robbie Keane scored his 100th goal. Middlesbrough drew 1-1 at Blackburn Rovers.
United, stifled by Reading in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season, took the lead with 15 minutes remaining when Rooney produced a cool finish after an instinctive pass by Carlos Tevez.
Ronaldo, the country's top scorer, broke away in stoppage time to take his league tally to 17.
"We kept making chances but you start to worry if you are going to get the goal," United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports News. "We got the goal at the right time and hung on."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was a happy man after his side outclassed Fulham. Two textbook headers from Adebayor and a Tomas Rosicky volley underlined their superiority.
"This was a very strong response to our last game and shows that this team is up for it," Wenger, whose side were held by Birmingham last week, told the BBC.
Pizarro earned Chelsea a gritty victory with his first league goal since the opening day, also against Birmingham and, despite not playing well, they are still very much in the title race.
"At this stage of the season it was very important to win. We knew it would be a very difficult game because they drew against Arsenal last week," manager Avram Grant told the BBC.