Man U lead in English Premier League

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Manchester United went six points clear at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Manchester United went six points clear at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday, while Arsenal beat Tottenham 3-0 to maintain a seven-year unbeaten streak against its north London rival. United won 2-1 at Middlesbrough for its seventh league win away from home and now has 41 points. Chelsea, which won't play this weekend because its scheduled opponents Newcastle played in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, has 35 points. "I think that our away form has been fantastic," said Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager. "That's got to be needed because it's such a tight top of the league with ourselves and Chelsea." Arsenal moved to third with 25 points with its win. Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring and Gilberto Silva netted from two debated penalties in the first north London derby at Emirates Stadium. "They looked to me to be penalties but it happens in some games that you don't get them," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "You have to work hard for your luck and we did today." Bellamy scores Craig Bellamy scored twice in Liverpool's 4-0 victory over Wigan - its first away win of the season - while, elsewhere, it was: Blackburn 2, Fulham 0; Portsmouth 2, Aston Villa 2; Reading 1, Bolton 0; and Sheffield United 2, Charlton 1. After the top two teams, only one point separates the next six sides. Portsmouth, Liverpool and Reading have 25 points and are behind Arsenal behind on goal difference. Aston Villa and Bolton are next with 24 points. Louis Saha scored for Man United from a 19th-minute penalty, earned when Cristiano Ronaldo was brought down by Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate disagreed with the decision to award a penalty. "There was no contact whatsoever," he said. "The keeper has tried his best to get out of the way and the player goes down." James Morrison volleyed into goal to level for Middlesbrough in the 66th, but Darren Fletcher restored United's lead two minutes later with a header. Adebayor scored from a cross by Kolo Toure in the 20th minute and celebrated by running to the touchline and embracing club captain Thierry Henry, who missed the game with a neck injury. Silva made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute after defender Pascal Chimbonda had been penalized for a tackle on midfielder Tomas Rosicky. He scored his second penalty 30 minutes later after substitute Jermaine Jenas brought down striker Robin van Persie. Henry's clarification Henry denied newspaper reports he had fallen out with manager Arsenal Wenger, and was in the players' tunnel before the game giving his teammates encouragement. Henry said he had finally decided to rest after struggling with his fitness since the World Cup and may even miss the league match at champion Chelsea next Sunday. Liverpool had drawn two and lost five of its league matches away from Anfield this season. Four days after being cleared of assault charges that forced him to miss the 0-0 draw with Portsmouth on Wednesday, Bellamy scored in the ninth and 26th minutes. He then set up Dirk Kuyt to add another goal in the 40th. Wigan midfielder Lee McCulloch scored an own-goal in the 45th minute to make it 4-0. Juan Pablo Angel scored an 82nd-minute equalizer for Aston Villa to draw 2-2 with Portsmouth. Villa took the lead when Gareth Barry converted a 37th-minute penalty. Matthew Taylor scored twice for Portsmouth - in the 52nd minute and from a 80th-minute penalty. Portsmouth midfielder Pedro Mendes was sent off in the 86th-minute after getting his second yellow card. Reading striker Kevin Doyle scored his eighth goal of the season in the 33rd minute, heading the ball at the far post. Blackburn scored through Shabani Nonda and Benni McCarthy for its first league win in six games. Charlton is still without an away win after Sheffield United midfielder Keith Gillespie scored an 88th-minute winner. Andy Reid had put Charlton ahead before Sheffield defender Chris Morgan scored an equalizer from a corner. Last-placed Charlton hasn't won away from home in 22 attempts, dating back to October 2005. On Sunday, Everton hosts West Ham, while Manchester City hosts Watford on Monday. In the Football League Championship, Birmingham moved to the top of the standings with 40 points after a 3-0 win over Plymouth. Preston and Cardiff are both two points back. Preston lost 2-0 at Luton, while Cardiff drew 0-0 with Colchester. (AP)

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