Manchester, England – After slipping up at Wigan in midweek, Manchester United bounced back with a convincing 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Sunday to restore its five-point lead at the top of the league.
Manchester City's 6-1 win over Norwich City on Saturday closed the gap to two points, but United easily widened the advantage again on Sunday with two goals from Wayne Rooney and one apiece courtesy of Danny Welbeck and Nani.
The Red Devils have won nine of their last 10 games in league play while Villa owns just two points from its last five contests, but remains just a bit above the relegation battle.
It took United just six minutes to go in front as former Villa man Ashley Young dribbled into the penalty area on the left and was tripped inside the box by Ciaran Clark.
Rooney calmly dispatched his spot kick by sending goalkeeper Shay Given the wrong way, and he nearly doubled his tally with a thumping shot that the 'keeper turned past his near post shortly after.
The second goal came a few minutes before the break when Patrice Evra got down the left wing and drove a low ball through the face of goal to Welbeck, who slid in to redirect the ball over the goal line.
United goalkeeper David De Gea's first involvement didn't come until the 66th minute when he tipped a header from Emile Heskey over the crossbar.
But Rooney sealed the win with his second of the game after a nice one-two with Antonio Valencia before Nani came off the bench to score in the closing minutes.