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United tops Southampton to go seven points clear

Manchester United moved seven points clear at the top of the English Premier League on Wednesday as Wayne Rooney scored twice in a 2-1 United win over Southampton at Old Trafford.

A 0-0 draw against QPR for Manchester City on Tuesday opened the door for United to stretch its lead.

But the home side got off to a terrible start when Michael Carrick's poor back pass was cut out by Southampton's Jay Rodriguez, who rounded goalkeeper David De Gea to put his team in front after just three minutes.

However, United responded a few minutes later to level the contest when Shinji Kagawa cut the Saints' defense open with a clever pass that allowed Rooney to fire home his eighth goal of the campaign.

Kagawa hit the post for the Red Devils as the attack continued, but the go- ahead goal came midway through the opening half when Robin van Persie's free kick was played to the back post for Patrice Evra, who nodded it back through the face goal for Rooney to finish from a yard out.

United took its foot off the pedal a bit after halftime and spent much of the second half defending. But despite a few anxious moments for De Gea, the Reds hung on thanks to the goalkeeper producing a fine diving stop to keep out Ricky Lambert's free kick.

Arsenal 2, Liverpool 2

London, England - Arsenal came from two goals down in the final 30 minutes to collect a 2-2 draw against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, leaving the club four points back of fourth-place Tottenham.

Liverpool seized the advantage five minutes into the match when Luis Suarez scored on a deflected shot.

And things got worse on the hour mark for the home side as Jordan Henderson was allowed to dance past a pack of Arsenal defenders before sliding the ball into the net.

But Arsenal pulled a goal back through Olivier Giroud four minutes later when the Frenchman nodded home Jack Wilshere's right-wing cross.

And the comeback continued in the 67th minute as Giroud laid a pass off to Theo Walcott inside the penalty area which the England international dispatched inside the far post.

Reading 2, Chelsea 2

Reading, England - Reading climbed out of the bottom three on Wednesday with a dramatic 2-2 draw against Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium as substitute Adam Le Fondre scored twice in the final minutes for the Royals.

A goal in first-half stoppage time from Juan Mata had Chelsea in front, while Frank Lampard doubled the lead in the 66th minute when he headed home Mata's corner kick.

But much like he did against Newcastle with a pair of late goals, Le Fondre came off the bench to rescue his team, first scoring in the 87th minute from Hope Akpan's pass.

And the equalizer came deep into stoppage time when Akpan headed the ball toward the back post, where an unmarked Le Fondre made sure to hammer it past goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.

Everton 2, West Bromwich 1

Liverpool, England - A first-half brace from Leighton Baines was enough to help Everton to a 2-1 win over West Bromwich at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

The result moves the Toffees to within one point of fourth-place Tottenham, while West Brom's struggles continued with the Baggies having earned just one point from their last five games.

Baines opened the scoring in the 29th minute when he collected a pass from Leon Osman and found plenty of space to smash a shot past goalkeeper Ben Foster from the edge of the penalty area.

The lead was doubled in first-half stoppage time when West Brom's Claudio Jacob brought down forward Victor Anichebe, allowing Baines to fire home the subsequent spot kick.

Shane Long reduced the deficit for the visitors in the 65th minute, but Everton held on to continue its chase for a Champions League spot.

Norwich City 1, Tottenham 1

Norwich, England - Tottenham stretched its unbeaten run to eight games on Wednesday but needed a goal from Gareth Bale in the 80th minute to secure a 1-1 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Wes Hoolahan's opener in the 32nd minute had the Canaries on course for a big win, but Bale produced a moment of individual brilliance to claw a point back for his side.

The Welshman took possession of the ball 60 yards from goal and embarked on a fine solo run that ended with him sliding the ball inside the left post from 12 yards.

Tottenham finished stronger and had a chance to win the game in the 89th minute, but Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn did well to deny substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Fulham 3, West Ham 1

London, England - Fulham moved past West Ham with a 3-1 win over its London rival on Wednesday at Craven Cottage.

Dimitar Berbatov's header after 10 minutes accounted for the lone goal in the first half, while West Ham pulled level in the 48th minute through Kevin Nolan.

But the Cottagers responded one minute later to restore their lead when Damien Duff's cross was bundled over the goal line by Hugo Rodallega.

The match remained 2-1 until stoppage time when Fulham wrapped up three points with a Joey O'Brien own goal, leaving West Ham with only one win from its last seven fixtures.