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United forge ahead with City in pursuit


Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-26

Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov scored twice at Old Trafford on Sunday as Manchester United eased past Sunderland to remain top of the Premier League, two points clear of second-placed Manchester City and with two games in hand.

AFP - Manchester United remained two points clear at the top of the English Premier League on Sunday 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.

Tottenham Hotspur can stay in touch with the top four if they win away to Aston Villa in Sunday's late kick-off.

Arsenal, who started the weekend in second, and fourth-placed champions Chelsea will look to maintain their title challenges when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.

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 Bulgaria striker Berbatov made it 2-0 in the 57th minute when his shot delected off Sunderland's Anton Ferdinand -- brother of United's Rio.

"Dimitar could have scored four or five today," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "He had some terrific opportunities."

United are the only unbeaten team in the league this season with 10 wins and seven draw and Ferguson added: "We have come into good form.

"We are getting that consistency, particularly in our defending. These are good signs for us."

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 goalkeeper Tim Krul's poor clearance was cut out by Tevez and the striker released Barry who scored from inside the area.

Argentina forward Tevez doubled City's lead at St James' Park 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.

City manager Roberto Mancini was pleased by the way his side bounced back from their defeat by Everton on Monday.

"We started the game very well and it was important we won this game," Mancini said. "It is important to have concentration under pressure and Newcastle had us under pressure for 20, 25 minutes."

West Ham moved off the bottom with a 3-1 win at Fulham as Wolves were left propping up the table after a 2-1 loss at home to relegation rivals Wigan.

England striker Carlton Cole scored two goals for West Ham, first cancelling out an opener from Fulham's Aaron Hughes before concluding the scoring after Frederic Piquionne put the Hammers in front.

West Ham's first away win in 27 attempts saw some of the pressure on their manager Avram Grant transfered to Fulham boss Mark Hughes.

"It was a good game for us - we came back which was amazing," Grant said.

At Molineux, Wigan went ahead in the ninth minute when Wolves failed to clear a corner and Hugo Rodallega volleyed home.

The Latics then doubled their lead 11 minutes later when Rodallega turned provider to find Tom Cleverley, on loan from Manchester United, who slid in their second goal.

Wolves pulled one back through Steven Fletcher three minutes from time.

Bolton went fifth with a 2-0 victory at home to West Brom.

Matt Taylor started and finished a move with South Korea's Lee Chung-Yong in the 40th minute before Johan Elmander made the game safe in the 86th minute.

Stoke moved up into eighth with a 2-0 away win at Blackburn.

Robert Huth headed in a 51st minute corner before Marc Wilson's last-minute strike secured all three points.

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.

Date created : 2010-12-26