Wayne Rooney’s second-half hat trick led Manchester United to a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over West Ham in English soccer’s Premier League.
Javier Hernandez also scored as United overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit at Upton Park in east London. The victory increases the Red Devils’ lead at the top of the standings to seven points over Arsenal, which drew 0-0 at home with Blackburn.
“We played like champions today; we kept our heads up and didn’t lose faith in our ability,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “We dominated that second half and it was a real championship performance.”
Birmingham beat Bolton to move out of the three relegation places at the bottom of the standings, West Brom beat Liverpool 2-1, and Newcastle defeated Wolverhampton 4-1. Chelsea drew 1-1 at Stoke, Everton and Aston Villa tied 2-2, while Wigan and Tottenham finished goalless.
Mark Noble scored twice with penalty kicks for West Ham, which drops back into the relegation spots. The first came in the 11th minute after Patrice Evra handled the ball, and the second followed 14 minutes later after Nemanja Vidic tripped Carlton Cole at the edge of the area.
Rooney started the rally in the 65th minute when he curled in a free kick from about 25 yards. The England striker tied the game eight minutes later by firing a low shot past goalkeeper Robert Green and completed his hat trick six minutes later from the penalty spot after Matthew Upson was judged to have handled the ball.
Hernandez, who came on as a substitute to start the second half, closed the scoring with a goal in the 84th minute.
Arsenal’s title hopes were dealt a blow by the draw with Blackburn, which played the 14 minutes with 10 men after Steven Nzonzi received a red card.
It was the third consecutive tie against a team in the bottom half of the league for Arsenal, which had a 15-7 advantage in shot attempts. Blackburn’s Michel Salgado cleared Nicklas Bendtner’s header off the goal line in the 88th minute to keep the game scoreless.
Kevin Phillips and Craig Gardner scored as Birmingham moved out of relegation, two points above West Ham, by beating Bolton. The victory ended a fourth-match winless run for the Blues.
Chris Brunt scored twice from the penalty spot, the second with two minutes remaining, as West Brom beat Liverpool. The Baggies are unbeaten in five games under manager Roy Hodgson, who left Liverpool in January after just six months in charge.
Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands and Jonas Gutierrez scored in Newcastle’s rout of Wolves, which remains in the relegation zone. Third-place Chelsea fell 11 points behind Manchester United after its draw at Stoke, while Leighton Baines’s 82nd-minute penalty gave Everton the home draw with Aston Villa. Wigan earned a point with its home draw against Tottenham but still remains in last place.
Fulham hosts Blackpool and Sunderland visits Manchester City in tomorrow’s games.