LONDON: Manchester United remained two points clear at the top of the English Premier League as Manchester City moved up into second place in the table. Dimitar Berbatov’s double saw United beat Sunderland 2-0 at Old Trafford while City, who were third on goal difference at the start of the day, won 3-1 at Newcastle in a match where Carlos Tevez scored twice. Arsenal and Chelsea will look to maintain their title challenges when they meet today.
United were ahead as early as the fifth minute when Ryan Giggs’s run saw him find Wayne Rooney, whose cross was headed in by the unmarked Berbatov at the far post. United had several chances to double their lead before Berbatov made it 2-0 in the 57th minute when his shot deflected off Sunderland’s Anton Ferdinand.
Two defensive blunders saw Manchester City go 2-0 up inside five minutes away to Newcastle thanks to goals from Gareth Barry and Tevez. Newcastle goal-keeper Tim Krul’s poor clearance was cut out by Tevez and the striker released Barry who scored from inside the area. Tevez doubled City’s lead just three minutes later after Newcastle’s Cheik Tiote gave the ball away.
Tevez pounced and fed James Milner before getting on the end of the midfielder’s return cross and finishing emphatically.
Newcastle got back into the match when striker Andy Carroll headed in a Joey Barton cormer in the 72nd minute. However, Tevez sealed City’s win nine minutes from time when, after linking with Adam Johnson, his shot deflected off Newcastle’s Fabricio Coloccini.
West Ham beat Fulham
In other matches, West Ham defeated Fulham 3-1 and Wigan claimed a 2-1 win against Wolverhampton. Stoke overpowered Blackburn 2-0 while Bolton beat West Brom with the same score-line.
Blackpool’s match at home to Liverpool was postponed because of a frozen pitch while the clash between Everton and Birmingham also fell victim to the weather.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2010.
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