Manchester United returns to top spot

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Man U returned to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at West Ham, extending its record-breaking run to 13 matches without conceding a goal.

Updated: February 09, 2009 15:51 IST
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Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at West Ham, extending its record-breaking run to 13 matches without conceding a goal.

Arsenal may have been the last team to breach and beat the defending champions in the league, but its own title challenge appears even less credible after a 0-0 draw at Tottenham left them 12 points adrift of United. Gunners midfielder Emmanuel Eboue had a goal disallowed before being sent off.

United responded to Liverpool's last-gasp 3-2 victory at Portsmouth by registering its sixth 1-0 victory in its last eight league matches.

Striker Dimitar Berbatov found the net in the 20th minute, but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside and the Hammers were proving resolute opponents.

Former West Ham striker Carlos Tevez missed the target after the break with a header after latching on to a free kick from Giggs.

And the 35-year-old Giggs showed that age is no hindrance to quality by completing a stunning solo run into the penalty area with the only goal in the 62nd minute at Upton Park.

The Welsh midfielder, who holds United's appearance record, collected a pass from Paul Scholes _ another United veteran _ cut inside from the left and rounded Carlton Cole and Scott Parker before striking a right-footed shot low past Robert Green.

United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar set a new British club record of 1,312 minutes without conceding a goal, surpassing Chris Woods' unbeaten run at Rangers in 1986-87.

"What the back four are doing is focusing and concentrating on their jobs," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "They've got pace, they're quick and, of course, we've got a goalkeeper like Edwin van der Sar who is just a fantastic goalkeeper.

"I'm proud for Edwin. At his age (38) he has achieved everything, but you can see the way he is motivated by the challenge of the clean sheets and it's an extra edge."

Arsenal remains unbeaten against north London rival Tottenham in the league since 1999.

But manager Arsene Wenger felt his side should have emerged victorious from White Hart Lane despite Eboue's sending off and a hamstring injury to Emmanuel Adebayor that will rule him out for three weeks.

Referee Mike Dean penalized Eboue for tripping Jonathan Woodgate before he found the net after 13 minutes.

"It is two points dropped because we had the best chances, because we scored a regular goal that was canceled by the referee because of an illusionary foul only seen by the referee," Wenger said. "I have watched it three times on television and I can't see what is wrong."

Wenger also complained about Eboue's booking for dissent before being dismissed in the 37th minute for kicking out at Luka Modric.

The draw lifted Spurs just two points clear of the Premier League's three-team relegation zone. While relieved to leave White Hart Lane with a point, the Gunners remain five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea in the chase for the Champions League spots.

Both teams had chances to win the match in stoppage time. Nicklas Bendtner's strike was tipped over by Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, while Modric was denied at the other end by Manuel Almunia.

Not even the return of striker Robbie Keane to Spurs after six months at Liverpool could inspire the team to exploit Arsenal's 76th red card in Wenger's 13-year reign.

Arsenal's Alex Song squandered the best chance to break the deadlock with 20 minutes to go, steering the ball wide from Van Persie's corner.

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