LONDON – Manchester United moved three points clear at the Premier League summit after beating Reading 4-3 in a remarkable game on Saturday, which was to prove a day of despair for Chelsea and Arsenal.
Report by Supersport
All the goals came before half time at the Madejski Stadium, equalling the Premier League record for first-half goals, as United overcame their defensive frailties to draw away from Manchester City – held 1-1 by Everton – ahead of next weekend’s Manchester derby.
Chelsea are now 10 points off the pace in third place after seeing their run without victory stretch to seven games in a 3-1 defeat at West Ham United, while Arsenal tumbled to 10th after a 2-0 loss at home to Swansea City.
A Wayne Rooney penalty put United 2-1 up in the 16th minute at Reading after Anderson had cancelled out Hal Robson-Kanu’s eighth-minute opener for the hosts, only for headers from Adam Le Fondre and Sean Morrison to restore the home side’s lead.
However, Rooney tucked away Patrice Evra’s cross to equalise in the 30th minute before Robin van Persie put Alex Ferguson’s men back in front moments later by finishing from Rooney’s flick.
Van Persie had a goal ruled out before half time despite the ball appearing to cross the line and then blazed wide of an open goal in the second half after an error from Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, but 4-3 proved enough.
Chelsea’s match at West Ham was another game of two halves.
The visitors led 1-0 at half time, only for the hosts’ rousing second-half fightback to condemn the European champions to their longest sequence of top-flight games without victory since 1995.
Juan Mata scored the first goal of the Rafael Benitez era to put Chelsea ahead at Upton Park, but a revitalised West Ham roared back to prevail through goals from Carlton Cole and substitutes Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga.