Manchester United continued its march to the English Premier League soccer title with a 1-0 win over Sunderland to extend its unbeaten run to 18 games.
A Titus Bramble own goal gave United its sixth straight league win. United remains 15 points ahead of Manchester City, which defeated Newcastle 4-0, with eight games remaining.
“It was all about coming here and winning,” United midfielder Michael Carrick told Sky Sports. “We’re getting closer and it’s one game less. We have to keep going.”
Tottenham won 2-1 at Swansea to move into third place over Chelsea, which lost 2-1 at Southampton. Arsenal defeated Reading 4-1, Everton beat Stoke 1-0, West Ham defeated West Brom 3-1, and Wigan beat Norwich 1-0 to move out of the three relegation places at the bottom of the standings.
United dominated play at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light but needed the own goal in the 27th minute to clinch the win. Robin van Persie sent a shot from the left side of the area which clipped Phil Bardsley before deflecting off Bramble’s knee past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
“It didn’t matter who scored today, it was all about the three points,” van Persie said. “This team is full of winners. Everyone knows what they have to do and it was never in doubt for me.”
Sunderland is winless in eight league matches, positioned just one point above the relegation zone.
Manchester City had goals from Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Vincent Kompany, plus an own goal, to rout Newcastle and keep its fleeting title hopes alive. City visits its Manchester rival on April 8.
Goals from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale in the opening 21 minutes gave Spurs the win at Swansea. It lifts the north London club up to third place, two points ahead of Chelsea.
Southampton moved four points clear of relegation with a home win over Chelsea as Rickie Lambert scored the winning goal with a free kick in the 35th minute. Jay Rodriguez also scored for the Saints, while John Terry had the Chelsea goal.
Gervinho, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Mikel Arteta scored as Arsenal pulled within two points of Chelsea. Reading, in its first game under manager Nigel Adkins, fell into last place below Queens Park Rangers on goal difference with both teams on 23 points.
Everton stayed in the hunt for a top-four finish and a Champions League berth with its home win over Stoke. Kevin Mirallas scored as the Toffess stayed two points behind Arsenal and moved within four points of Chelsea.
Arouna Kone’s goal with nine minutes remaining gave Wigan the home victory over Norwich. The Latics’ second straight league win moves them out of the relegation zone on goal difference over Aston Villa.
Andy Carroll scored twice as West Ham eased its relegation fears by beating West Brom. It was just the Hammers’ third win in 12 games, but moved them six points clear of the drop zone.