Manchester United and Arsenal won to remain first and second in English soccer’s Premier League.
Wayne Rooney scored two goals yesterday as United defeated Aston Villa 3-1 to stretch its Premier League unbeaten run to 24 games this season and 29 dating back to last season. Rooney has only scored four goals in league play in the current campaign, compared with 26 last season.
“I’ve been happy with my play but obviously I want to score,” Rooney said. “Hopefully I can go on a run now and help the team to win games.”
The Red Devils remain five points ahead of Arsenal, which came from behind to beat Everton 2-1. Chelsea won 4-2 at Sunderland, while West Brom and Wigan tied 2-2 in yesterday’s other matches.
United has 54 points from 24 games, Arsenal is on 49 and Chelsea is fourth with 44 points.
Rooney opened the scoring after 50 seconds at Old Trafford and doubled the home team’s advantage with a tap-in just before halftime. Nemanja Vidic took a pass from Rooney and scored five minutes after Darren Bent got Villa’s goal in the 58th minute.
Andrey Arshavin and Laurent Koscielny scored in the second half as Arsenal stretched its unbeaten run in the league to seven games at the Emirates Stadium in north London.
Everton’s Louis Saha opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a goal from an offside position, which was allowed to stand because Seamus Coleman’s pass deflected off Koscielny.
‘Never Say Die’
Arshavin, who came on as a substitute in the second half, tied the game in the 70th minute and Koscielny got the winner five minutes later when he headed in Cesc Fabregas’s corner kick.
“Tonight was a victory of a team with fantastic spirit and a never-say-die attitude,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “I’m very happy, because the spirit is maybe the aspect of the team that’s been questioned the most and that’s where we have been the most convincing recently.”
John Terry and Nicolas Anelka scored in the second half to lift Chelsea to the away win at Sunderland.
Phil Bardsley put the home side in front after four minutes and Frank Lampard tied the score with a penalty 11 minutes later. Salomon Kalou then gave the Blues the lead before Kieran Richardson made it 2-2 at halftime.
Terry gave Chelsea the lead again in the 60th minute and Anelka closed out the win in injury time.
Fernando Torres and David Luiz weren’t part of Carlo Ancelotti’s squad after joining Chelsea two days ago. The Blues signed Torres from Liverpool for what U.K. media said was a fee of 50 million pounds ($81 million) and bought Luiz from Benfica for as much as 25 million euros ($35 million).
Marc-Antoine Fortune’s goal in the 79th minute gave West Brom the home draw with Wigan. Peter Odemwingie also scored for West Brom and Charles N’Zogbia and Ben Watson had the goals for Wigan, which remains in the three relegation places at the bottom of the standings.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.