Mon, Nov 20, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Rooney brace earns Man U win

WAYNE BLUNTS BLADES Manchester United came from behind to beat Sheffield United, while Arsenal could only draw at home with Newcastle

AP , LONDON

Newcastle's goalkeeper Shay Given, center, fails to stop a goal by Arsenal's Thierry Henry as Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini and Newcastle's Titus Bramble and Craig Moore look on during their Premiership match at the Emirates Stadium in London on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Wayne Rooney scored two goals on Saturday for Manchester United to beat Sheffield United 2-1 and maintain its three-point lead atop the Premier League.

Rooney scored in the 30th and 75th minutes, rallying the Red Devils who fell behind to a 13th-minute goal by Keith Gillespie. It was Man United's seventh straight league victory.

Two-time defending champion Chelsea kept winning too, beating West Ham 1-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to Geremi's 22nd-minute free kick.

Manchester United has 34 points, three more than Chelsea.

Portsmouth moved into third place with 23 points, rallying for a 2-1 victory on a late penalty in the 89th by Lomana LuaLua.

Arsenal slipped further off the pace, drawing 1-1 at home against struggling Newcastle for 22 points.

Kieron Dyer gave the Magpies a 1-0 lead in the 30th, and Thierry Henry -- rested in the first half by manager Arsene Wenger -- equalized in the 70th.

Man United manager Alex Ferguson credited his midfield for the victory.

"A certain maturity is helping us," Ferguson said. "I think Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes are using all that experience in the midfield, taking their time, being patient, probing away for opportunities. And when you've got front players like we've got -- if we get chances, one or two will take them."

Mourinho gave credit to Geremi, who seldom plays for the Blues but scored the winner from a perfectly placed free kick.

"He [Geremi] takes free kicks, but he doesn't play a lot," Mourinho said. "He practices a lot, but I don't give him a lot of chances to play. So now I am giving him chances to play and he's playing well."

Wenger defended his decision to start Henry on the bench after he'd played for France a few days earlier.

"He was tired from the France game, and that was my decision," Wenger said. "You cannot play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday. It is impossible for one man."

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