Manchester United won 3-0 at Newcastle to climb to second in soccer’s Premier League, while Tottenham beat Aston Villa 2-0 for its fourth straight victory.
Defenders Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra scored in the first half, with Tom Cleverley stretching United’s advantage after 71 minutes. United sits above defending champion Manchester City on goal difference, four points behind unbeaten Chelsea.
“We were on top of our game,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports after yesterday’s match. “The concentration was terrific and the determination was there.”
In yesterday’s other games, Liverpool was held to a 0-0 home draw by Stoke, while Southampton and Fulham tied 2-2.
Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon were the scorers for Spurs. Hugo Lloris started in goal for Tottenham, ending Brad Friedel’s run of 310 consecutive Premier League starts.
United, beaten 3-0 at Newcastle last season, dominated the early stages and was ahead after only eight minutes when Evans headed in from a corner. It was the center-back’s second goal in 130 appearances for the club.
The visitors continued to push forward and Rafael hit a shot just wide three minutes later. Danny Welbeck then robbed goalkeeper Steve Harper of the ball but was unable to guide it into an empty net.
Harper saved a free kick from Wayne Rooney on 15 minutes and United scored from the resulting corner, Evra heading past the goalkeeper for only his fourth United goal in almost 300 games.
Newcastle was more dangerous after halftime. Papiss Cisse headed against the bar after 50 minutes and Demba Ba followed up, although goalkeeper David de Gea clawed away his effort as the home team appealed that the ball had crossed the line.
Ferguson and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew were both unsure if the strike should have been allowed by the officials.
“It’s inconclusive,” Ferguson said. “I would be disappointed if he didn’t give the goal for ourselves, but the rule is the whole ball has to be over the line.”
Cleverley ended any chance of a Newcastle comeback with a shot that curled into the top corner of the net with 19 minutes remaining.
Tottenham extended its unbeaten run in all competitions since an opening day league defeat at Newcastle to eight matches with a comfortable victory against Villa. It includes four straight league wins.
Spurs were unable to take advantage of several first-half opportunities, but were ahead on 58 minutes when a shot from Jermain Defoe hit the back of Caulker’s foot and flew into the net.
Lennon, who was recalled to the England squad last week, doubled the home team’s advantage with a low shot nine minutes later.
Liverpool remains without a home league win at Anfield this season after its scoreless match against Stoke. The Reds have six points from seven matches and sit 14th in the standings.
“I thought the performance was excellent,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told reporters. “Stoke are a difficult team to play against.”
At St. Mary’s, Jose Fonte scored twice as Southampton tied against Fulham to climb out of the relegation positions.
Fonte gave the Saints a fourth-minute lead and then rescued a point as the game headed into injury time at the end of the match. Southampton’s Jos Hooiveld deflected the ball into his own net on 70 minutes, with Kieran Richardson getting the visitors’ other goal.
Southampton climbs one spot to 17th in the 20-team league, leaving Reading, Norwich and Queens Park Rangers in the bottom three.
Two days ago, Reading tied 2-2 at Swansea, Norwich lost 4-1 at Chelsea, while QPR had a 3-2 defeat at West Bromwich Albion. Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-0, Arsenal won 3-1 at West Ham, and Everton tied 2-2 at Wigan.
The league takes a break next weekend because of qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup.