3-0 victory over Newcastle puts Manchester United second
Alex Ferguson has defenders to thank as victory puts Man Utd ahead of City on points
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 3. Alex Ferguson's team swatted Newcastle aside on Sunday to ensure they keep Chelsea in their sights at the top of the table. "It was a great result," said Fergie. "To come here and win 3-0 against a really powerful, aggressive Newcastle team, you have to make sure you really perform and keep control of the game and I think we did that most of the time."
Victory moved United into second place in the Premier League, four points behind Chelsea and ahead of Manchester City on goal difference, a much-needed morale boost following last week's defeat to Tottenham.
For once it was the United defenders who made the headlines although not for the way they blunted the Newcastle attack. Rather they supplied the goals, with Jonny Evans opening United's account with a header on eight minutes and Patrice Evra adding a second header after a quarter of an hour. Tom Cleverley made it 3-0 in the second half when the midfielder's attempted cross to Robin van Persie ended up beating Newcastle keeper Steve Harper.
Tottenham moved up to fifth after a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa. It was the Lilywhites' fourth straight Premier League win and they had Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon to thank for the three points. The pair were on target in the second-half although the post-match chatter centred on the inclusion of Hugo Lloris. The ex-Lyon keeper replaced Brad Friedel between the sticks for his first Premier League start of the season.
"Brad has been immense [but] we wanted to give a continuous run of games for Lloris bearing in mind the Panathinaikos match and two France games coming up," said Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas. "Obviously Brad was disappointed but as a great professional he ended up accepting the decision. We respect his performances and I'm sure he will be back in the team as soon as possible."
Friedel's omission brought to an end his record run of 310 consecutive Premier League appearances but it was a good game to miss as Villa brought little to White Hart Lane by way of attacking intent. The defeat leaves them in 16th spot, one place ahead of Southampton who played their part in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Fulham.
Jose Fonte scored for the Saints on four minutes but the Cottagers fought back to lead 2-1 thanks to goals from Jos Hooiveld and Kieran Richardson. Fonte struck his second on the stroke of full-time to earn Southampton a share of the points.
Liverpool's miserable home form continued as they were held to a goalless draw by Stoke, a result that leaves the Reds in 14th spot and still without a win at Anfield this season. The main talking point after the game concerned the antics of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. The South American appeared to take a dive in a failed attempt to win a penalty, and that left Stoke boss Tony Pulis fuming.
Asked if he felt the FA should take a tougher stance on simulation, Pulis replied: "Retrospective decisions are made on a Monday and Luis Suarez should be punished. The one in the penalty box was an embarrassment and how he wasn't booked I don't know."