Valencia strikes as Man United go top

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Manchester United moved top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Updated: October 18, 2009 13:24 IST
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Manchester United moved top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Saturday.

An own goal from Zat Knight and Antonio Valencia's first for United saw the reigning champions regain top spot by a point after Chelsea lost 2-1 to Aston Villa.

United never had to get out of second gear after taking an early lead through Knight's error.

And when Valencia drove past the impressive Jussi Jaaskelainen, they looked set for a comfortable victory.

But United failed to add to that lead and when Matthew Taylor's header made it 2-1 with 15 minutes left, a tense climax ensued.

Although it was not the most convincing display, it set United up for a key week with a Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow and a clash with rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

United were without Nemanja Vidic after the Serbian's training ground injury but the hosts were in front with just four minutes on the clock.

Ryan Giggs had already caused trouble down the left flank and a quick throw down the same side saw Michael Carrick flick through for Patrice Evra.

The French left back's cross was met by a glancing header from Michael Owen and the ball flew in off Knight.

A minute later, clever work from Gary Neville and Dimitar Berbatov allowed Giggs to lift in another cross that was headed goal-wards by Jonny Evans only for Jaaskelainen to push on to the post.

The pressure was constant and Bolton could do little to stem the flow.

Another fine move saw Valencia break down the right and send in a cross that was volleyed towards goal by Berbatov only to deflect off Owen and wide.

With just under a quarter of an hour gone Bolton were presented with a great chance to get back on level terms.

Sam Ricketts sent over a cross from the right but Kevin Davies, who had escaped Evans, headed wide.

On another quick Bolton breakaway, Taylor lifted over the bar from distance.

Midway through the opening period, Owen picked out Valencia just outside the area and the Ecuadorian winger's thumping effort was blocked by Jaaskelainen once again.

Another decent foray forward from the visitors was wasted when Davies clipped a cross wide when he might have had a shot after fine work from Chung-Yong Lee.

Taylor gave Edwin van der Sar his first real work of the day with a free-kick that was easily dealt with by the Dutch goalkeeper, who was making his first appearance of the season after a hand injury.

And just after the half hour, Taylor went much closer, drilling just wide of goal from Davies's knock-down.

But in the 33rd minute, United came up with a second goal of real quality.

They cut through Bolton with Valencia swapping passes with Neville before driving past Jaaskelainen for his first league goal since a pre-season move from Wigan.

Van der Sar comfortably gathered a bobbling shot from Fabrice Muamba as United went in two goals up at the break.

Knight attempted to make up for his early error with a header from Taylor's free-kick that was held by Van der Sar after the break.

And at the other end, Owen dragged wide after he was slipped through by Berbatov before Taylor fired over from distance once again.

Just before the hour, Valencia clipped a cross to the far post and Jaaskelainen pulled off another fine save from Berbatov's volley.

Taylor though snatched one back for the visitors with a firm header from Davies's cross.

But United withstood some late skirmishes - with Davies drilling wide in the final minute - to keep the points.

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