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United win keeps rival City at bay

Date

London

Wayne Rooney (left) scores against Sunderland.

Wayne Rooney (left) scores against Sunderland. Photo: Reuters

MANCHESTER United stayed in control of the English Premier League by beating Sunderland 3-1 on Saturday, keeping Manchester City at arm's length following the champions' impressive win at Newcastle by the same score.

Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney - United's in-form strike partnership - teamed to preserve United's six-point lead, both scoring at Old Trafford to add to a sublime strike by midfielder Tom Cleverley.

City recovered from its agonising derby loss to United last weekend by winning at St James' Park, courtesy of goals by Sergio Aguero, Javi Garcia and Yaya Toure, but United's victory ensures Alex Ferguson's side will be top at Christmas.

''Some of our football was very good and we could have scored lots of goals," Ferguson said.

''We will try to keep the momentum going and consistency going.''

Liverpool's resurgence ended with a surprise 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa, Everton drew 1-1 at Stoke in a match marred by an apparent headbutt from visiting midfielder Marouane Fellaini on Ryan Shawcross, and Queens Park Rangers climbed off the foot of the table by beating Fulham 2-1 for their first victory in 17 matches this season.

Reading occupies the bottom spot ahead of its home match against Arsenal on Monday.

Also on Saturday, Norwich claimed a fifth-straight home win by beating Wigan 2-1, lifting the team into seventh place and only two points off the Champions League positions.

With van Persie and Rooney firing in the goals, United looks an unstoppable force.

Van Persie's 12th goal of the season - the equal-highest in the league with Swansea midfielder Michu - set the 20-time champions on their way in the 16th minute and Cleverley made it 2-0 three minutes later.

Van Persie set up Rooney to wrap up the win in the 59th minute, giving United breathing space and Ferguson a chance to substitute captain Nemanja Vidic for his first game since September.

Frazier Campbell's 72nd-minute consolation against his former club sparked a late fightback by Sunderland that didn't produce any more goals.

City had put the pressure on hours earlier, producing some fine football to take a 2-0 lead at half-time through Aguero's tap-in and Garcia's header from a corner.

The champion conceded a header by Demba Ba early in the second half and then had to weather an onslaught by Newcastle before Toure clinched victory 12 minutes from time.

''The season is long. He [Ferguson] knows football better than me. He knows that this championship is not finished,'' City manager Roberto Mancini said.

AP

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Round 1
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Round 2
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Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
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VIC 5vs MCY 2 Stats
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WEL 4vs NEW 1 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs ADE 2 Stats
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PER 2vs NEW 1 Stats
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VIC 2vs WEL 0 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs WSW 0 Stats
ADE 0vs SYD 0 Stats
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CCM 0vs PER 1 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
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ADE 2vs WEL 1 Stats
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MCY 2vs CCM 2 Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs BRI 0 Stats
PER 2vs WEL 1 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
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Round 9
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1vs PER 2 Stats
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NEW 1vs WEL 3 Stats
ADE 2vs WSW 0 Stats
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MCY 1vs BRI 0 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
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VIC 3vs SYD 3 Stats
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WSW 3vs MCY 2 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs VIC 0 Stats
PER 4vs CCM 1 Stats
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SYD 0vs WEL 2 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
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SYD 0vs ADE 3 Stats
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Round 13
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
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Round 14
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
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PER 1vs ADE 2 Stats
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Round 15
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 7vs NEW 0 Stats
CCM 1vs SYD 5 Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs BRI 2 Stats
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PER 1vs SYD 3 Stats
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WSW 2vs WEL 0 Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs BRI 2 Stats
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WEL 0vs MCY 0 Stats
NEW 1vs WSW 1 Stats
SYD 3vs VIC 3 Stats
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ADE 1vs PER 1 Stats
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Round 18
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
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Round 19
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
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Round 20
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs SYD 1 Stats
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VIC 1vs PER 1 Stats
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CCM 1vs MCY 0 Stats
BRI 1vs WSW 0 Stats
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Round 21
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
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MCY 4vs NEW 0 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs NEW 2 Stats
ADE 2vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 1vs WEL 2 Stats
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Round 23
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs BRI 0 Stats
PER 3vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs SYD 3 Stats
NEW 0vs ADE 1 Stats
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Round 24
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs ADE 1 Stats
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WEL 0vs VIC 3 Stats
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NEW 0vs PER 2 Stats
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Round 25
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC 0vs NEW 1 Stats
PER 0vs SYD 3 Stats
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ADE 2vs BRI 3 Stats
CCM 1vs WSW 0 Stats
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MCY 0vs WEL 0 Stats
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Round 26
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
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NEW 3vs SYD 4 Stats
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Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 28
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 2vs BRI 1 Stats
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Round 29
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Round 30
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