Manchester Utd. Beats Wolves 5-0 to Take Four-Point League Lead

Manchester United beat 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-0 to establish a four-point lead atop English soccer’s Premier League and push its opponent to last place in the standings.

Javier Hernandez scored twice at Molineux yesterday, while Jonny Evans, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck also got goals for the visitors. Wolves fullback Ronald Zubar was red-carded before halftime.

“It was an OK performance from us, I didn’t think it was anything special,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “Wolves always make it difficult for you here, but we took our goals well.”

United moves to 70 points from 29 matches after its fifth straight league victory, while Manchester City has 66 points from 28 games. Tottenham is a further 13 points back. Wolves trail Queens Park Rangers and Wigan on goal difference at the other end.

In yesterday’s other league game, Newcastle beat Norwich City 1-0 to end a four-match winless run in the league.

Steven Fletcher headed just wide on 18 minutes for Wolves, which hasn’t won at home since Dec. 4.

United took the lead soon after as Evans got his first goal for the club. The center-back put the ball into the net from close range after Michael Carrick knocked it on from a deep corner by Wayne Rooney.

Zubar Red-Carded

The home team’s chances of getting back into the match were hit by a red card for Zubar on 39 minutes. He was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Welbeck.

Moments later Welbeck missed a chance to double United’s lead before Valencia scored on 43 minutes when he ran on to a pass from Rooney and struck a low shot past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Welbeck then got his 10th goal of the season just before halftime to make it 3-0.

Hennessey stopped an effort from Rooney early in the second half before Hernandez increased the lead after 56 minutes with a header. The Mexican striker claimed his second goal of the game five minutes later.

Ferguson said reducing Manchester City’s advantage in goal difference may be “significant.” City is plus 49, three better than United.

“It will go down to the wire,” Ferguson said. “There are still nine games to go and it’s just a matter of chalking them off one-by-one.”

Wolves has one win in 15 league matches, including three defeats in four starts since Terry Connor was put in temporary charge until the end of the season. Mick McCarthy was fired on Feb. 13.

‘Keep Believing’

It lies 20th and last in the league on 22 points, Wigan is 19th, with QPR in the other relegation spot. Bolton is one point above those three teams, with Blackburn on 25.

“The message to the players and to everyone is keep believing,” Connor told reporters.

Senegal striker Papiss Cisse got sixth-place Newcastle’s only goal as it beat Norwich to close within two points of Chelsea.

Norwich, without a victory in four league matches, remains in 13th.

Two days ago, Wigan drew 1-1 at home against West Bromwich Albion, while Swansea City defeated Fulham 3-0.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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