They are still not playing vintage Manchester United football, but a Wayne Rooney double gave United a 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday.
The England captain opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 66th minute after Falcao had been pulled back by John O’Shea. But, instead of sending off the Irishman, referee Roger East showed a red card to his fellow former United defender Wes Brown.
Rooney added a second six minutes from time, and the 2-0 victory was enough to lift United above Arsenal and back into third in the English Premier League table ahead of the Gunners’ clash with Everton on Sunday.
The win also opens up a five point gap between United and Liverpool, who play Manchester City on Sunday morning. A city win, and their will be a gap between the top four and the chasing pack for the first time all season.
One reason for the gap is because West Brom pulled further clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over Southampton thanks to Saido Berahino’s goal in only the second minute. Along with Sunderland, there were defeats for three other members of the bottom six, all of them 1-0.
Tim Sherwood is still searching for his first point as Aston Villa manager after Papiss Cisse netted the winner for Newcastle in the 37th minute.
A Kieran Trippier own goal condemned Burnley to a home loss against Swansea while Peter Crouch equalled Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 46 headed goals seconds after coming on as a substitute as Stoke beat Hull.
In the early game, former West Ham boss Alan Pardew enjoyed his return to Upton Park as his Crystal Palace side came away with a 3-1 victory. Glenn Murray gave the visitors the lead four minutes before half-time, although his header certainly would not have found the net had Aaron Cresswell failed with his attempted clearance.
A header from Scott Dann six minutes after the break doubled Palace’s lead and Murray then headed in a third before his afternoon ended early with a second yellow card. Enner Valencia pulled one back for West Ham 14 minutes from time but that was as good as it got for Sam Allardyce’s stuttering side.