Jan. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Manchester United got goals from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez to win 2-1 at West Brom and keep its lead atop English soccer’s Premier League. Manchester City beat Blackpool 1-0, and Arsenal won 3-0 at Birmingham.
Rooney scored in the third minute, and the hosts evened the match about 10 minutes later on a goal from James Morrison. Peter Odemwingie missed a penalty that would have given West Brom the lead, allowing Hernandez’s 75th-minute to settle the match.
The result gives United 41 points, even with Manchester City, which has played two more matches. United leads on goal difference, with Arsenal in third place with 39 points.
“It’s a massive result for us,” United coach Alex Ferguson said on Sky Sports. “Over the years we’ve had to battle out games and we have had to do that today.”
City defeated Blackpool 1-0 at home after an Adam Johnson goal in the 34th minute. City captain Carlos Tevez, returning from injury, missed a first-half penalty. The winners kept pace with United, which has a goal difference of 23, compared with City’s 17.
At Birmingham, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri scored and defender Roger Johnson knocked the ball into his own net. The win allows Arsenal to stay in third place, and the home side falls into the relegation zone.
‘Deserved to Win’
“We have shown physical qualities and mentally we kept calm too,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the British Broadcasting Corp. “We kept playing our game, by getting the ball down on the floor. In the end we deserved to win.”
Arsenal hosts City in four days, while United plays Stoke at Old Trafford a day earlier.
At Liverpool, the Reds won 2-1 on a second-half injury-time goal from Joe Cole to defeat Bolton. Fernando Torres scored in the 49th minute after Kevin Davies put the visitors ahead late in the first half. Tottenham defeated Fulham 1-0 at White Hart Lane on a goal from Gareth Bale, who scored for the 11th time this season.
Stoke defeated Everton 2-0 at home, while Sunderland was a 3-0 winner over Blackburn. West Ham defeated last place Wolverhampton to jump to 15th.
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