Wayne Rooney had scored just one league goal from open play prior to his first-minute strike against Villa. The England striker controlled Edwin van der Sar’s clearance with delightful ease before rattling in a dipping shot. Rooney turned in Nani’s cross to add a second on the stroke of half-time. Though Darren Bent (58) pulled one back with his second goal in three games since arriving from Sunderland, Nemanja Vidić wrapped up the win five minutes later. United are still unbeaten in the league this term.
Arsenal, meanwhile, found the going even tougher at home against Everton. Louis Saha gave the visitors a 24th-minute lead with a hotly disputed goal. Replays showed Saha was offside when he ran onto a pass from Seamus Coleman that came off Koscielny before reaching the France striker. having been released by Seamus Coleman,
Arsenal fought back though as first Andrey Arshavin and then center half Laurent Koscielny scored second half goals to complete Arsenal’s comeback and keep the Gunners firmly in the title race.
Five points behind Arsenal are Chelsea, who won a thriller at Sunderland 4-2. Sunderland shocked the defending champions when they went one up inside four minutes. But a Frank Lampard’s penalty and Salomon Kalou’s tidy finish put Chelsea in front. Kieran Richardson’s free kick in the 26th brought the home side level but second-half goals by John Terry and Nicolas Anelka saw Chelsea keep in contact with the leaders.
Elsewhere, Wigan remain in the relegation zone after a 2-2 draw against West Brom. Substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune scored West Brom’s equalizer against Wigan in the 79th minute, preventing the visitors climbing out of the bottom three. Peter Odemwingie put West Brom ahead but Charles N’Zogbia’s deflected free kick made it 1-1 and Ben Watson’s hopeful cross into the box found the corner to give Wigan the lead.
The pressure will now shift to Spurs and Man City who play Wednesday as they aim to keep in touch with Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea.