Mon, Nov 13, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Win at Ewood Park keeps Man United top of table

DPA , LONDON

Manchester United kept their noses in front at the top of the English Premiership on Saturday as they won 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers.

Earlier in the day Chelsea had joined them at the top after a 4-0 thrashing of Watford, with Didier Drogba scoring a hat-trick, but United then regained their three-point lead thanks to Louis Saha's 64th-minute goal at Ewood Park.

Watford kept it tight for almost half an hour at Stamford Bridge before the Ivory Coast striker opened the scoring and then made it 2-0 with his second seven minutes before the break. Andriy Shevchenko made it 3-0 (52) and Drogba completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes.

The result moved Chelsea on to 28 points and also made Jose Mourinho's side only the second British club ever to reach 50 successive home games without defeat in the top flight.

Mourinho was quick to praise Drogba after the striker took his goal tally for the season to 14.

"There is an improvement in his game in every aspect," Mourinho said. "He is very strong and he looks very sharp."

"He is great in the air and very strong in defensive actions. He is at the top of his game. Now it is just a question of him staying there for a long time. At the moment I don't think there is anybody better in the world scoring or playing like him," he said.

"He is scoring in every competition -- the Premiership, the Champions League, the Carling Cup. He is playing amazing stuff. His improvement has been at every level. I don't like to use the word unstoppable but he is great in every aspect of his game. He attacks the ball, he dominates in the air, he holds the ball well, he is at the top of his game. I never saw a better Drogba than now," Mourinho said.

Everton were beaten 1-0 at home by Aston Villa thanks to Chris Sutton's first goal for his new club as Martin O'Neill's side moved above Bolton Wanderers into third.

Bolton let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Sheffield United while Portsmouth came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Fulham.

Villa manager O'Neill said Sutton had enjoyed a superb match.

"He was fantastic, he is a really astute center forward and he can only get better," he said.

"It is fair to say that during the summer he was in two minds over whether he was going to carry on," O'Neill said. "He needed a groin operation in the summer and he had not been right last season out on loan to Birmingham."

"He probably tried to play when he shouldn't have, and he was no doubt feeling that it may have been all over. But eventually he probably convinced himself there was something else to give," the Villa manager said.

Wigan Athletic continue to impress with a 3-2 victory over Charlton Athletic, dropping Iain Dowie's side to the foot of the table after Newcastle United drew 0-0 at Manchester City.

And substitute Massimo Maccarone scored the only goal of the game on 75 minutes as Middlesbrough beat West Ham United 1-0.

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