Manchester, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Manchester United remained in the top three in the Premier League on Friday as Wayne Rooney scored two goals and assisted on another in a 3-1 United win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Rooney was on target after 23 minutes and again in the 36th to hand the hosts a 2-0 halftime lead. The England international then set up a goal for Robin van Persie in the 53rd with a fine chip, while Newcastle grabbed a consolation tally three minutes from time as Papiss Cisse converted a penalty kick.
The win is United's seventh in the past eight games and it moves the club three points clear of fourth-place Southampton, while Newcastle drops to 10th place after suffering a fourth successive defeat.
Newcastle had a better start in the opening 20 minutes, including a fine effort from Daryl Janmaat that forced a fantastic save from goalkeeper David De Gea, but it was the hosts who seized the initiative in the 23rd with a nice counter-attacking move.
Rooney played the ball forward to Juan Mata, who served it toward the back post for Radamel Falcao. The Colombian could have tried to turn the ball on goal, but he instead squared it to Rooney for a simple tap-in.
Mata had a hand in the second goal as well 13 minutes later when he picked up a loose ball in the attacking third and threaded a pass into the box for Rooney, who timed his run well and lashed a first-time shot past goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
It took just eight minutes after the break for the hosts to extend their lead to 3-0, and again Rooney was at the center of the move, floating a delightful chip over the top of the defense for Van Persie to head home from 10 yards.
The only blemish on the day for United came in the 87th when Phil Jones brought down Newcastle's Jack Colback inside the box, allowing Cisse to convert from the penalty spot.
Premier League leaders Chelsea maintained their place on top by turning aside West Ham, 2-0, as Diego Costa set up the opening goal for John Terry in the first half before scoring himself in the 62nd to wrap up the win.
Manchester City had little trouble keeping pace as the Citizens cruised to a 3-1 win at West Bromwich with all three goals coming in the first 34 minutes.
Fernando netted his first goal of the campaign after eight minutes, while Yaya Toure scored five minutes later from the penalty spot before David Silva put the game to rest for the defending champions.
Southampton climbed into fourth place by notching a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace that saw the Saints get goals from Sadio Mane, Ryan Bertrand and Toby Alderweireld. The result drops Palace into the bottom three, one point from safety.
Raheem Sterling's goal in the 62nd minute was enough to lift Liverpool to a much-needed 1-0 win over 19th-place Burnley, while Stoke City edged Everton, 1-0, with a 38th-minute penalty kick from Bojan Krkic providing the difference.
Tottenham was able to come away from a trip to last-place Leicester City with a 2-1 win thanks to a goal from Christian Eriksen in the 72nd minute, Hull City scored three times without reply to record a 3-1 win at Sunderland that moves the Tigers out of the relegation places, Swansea City held off Aston Villa, 1-0, thanks to a first-half goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Arsenal managed to hold on for a 2-1 win against QPR despite playing the final 37 minutes with 10 men after Olivier Giroud was sent off.