United holds off Liverpool to maintain lead

Manchester United kept hold of its seven-point lead at the top of the Premiership table on Sunday after securing a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Robin van Persie continued his scoring binge in the first half when he redirected a low cross from Patrice Evra past goalkeeper Pepe Reina after 19 minutes to put United in front, giving the Dutchman a league-leading 17 goals on the season.

The hosts dominated much of the first half but it wasn't until the 55th minute that the lead was doubled as Van Persie had a hand in the second tally as well.

Van Persie swung a free kick to the back post for Evra, whose header took a slight deflection off the face of Nemanja Vidic before finding the net.

Daniel Sturridge made his league debut for Liverpool as a halftime substitute and he pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 57th when he pounced on a rebound from Steven Gerrard's shot.

From there, United looked shaky at the back but was able to hold on as Sturridge spurned a late chance by lifting the ball over the net from eight yards.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team has now won nine of its last 10 games to stay seven points clear of Manchester City, while Liverpool sits in eighth place.

Manchester City 2, Arsenal 0

London, England - Manchester City kept pace with Manchester United at the top of the Premiership with a 2-0 win over 10-man Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The match turned dramatically after just eight minutes when Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off for bringing down City's Edin Dzeko inside the penalty area.

Dzeko's subsequent spot kick was saved by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, but City soon went in front after 21 minutes when James Milner hammered home a pass from Carlos Tevez.

Milner nearly doubled his total in the 32nd when Szczesny kept out his low shot, only for Dzeko to follow up the play and score on the rebound.

City's lead was never in danger after that, despite captain Vincent Kompany being sent off 15 minutes from time for a two-footed challenge on Arsenal's Jack Wilshere.