English Premier League Roundup, Feb. 12

BY foxsports • February 12, 2011

Wayne Rooney's perfectly executed overhead kick gave Manchester United a 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City, putting the leaders four points clear of Arsenal while silencing his detractors on Saturday.

Spotting Nani's cross floating into the penalty area with his back to goal, the acrobatic Rooney leapt between two defenders and connected with a right-foot strike that flew past goalkeeper Joe Hart, who remained rooted to the spot.

"I was just trying to keep my eye on the ball and to get a good connection," Rooney said. "Luckily it went into the top corner."

The goal capped United's immediate response to last weekend's first loss of the league season at Wolverhampton Wanderers, which couldn't repeat the feat at second-place Arsenal on Saturday, going down 2-0.

City was four points adrift of Arsenal and eight behind United as manager Roberto Mancini struggles to turn the league's most expensively assembled squad into title winners.

"It is a significant result and almost certainly rules City out of the title race unless a disaster happens," Rooney said.

Rooney's match-winner should help to restore his standing among United fans, who were enraged by his thwarted attempt to leave the 18-time champions last year when City was being touted as a likely destination.

The England forward's spectacular combination of intuition and technique in the 78th minute produced his sixth goal of an injury-hit season for United.

The goal outshone Dimitar Berbatov's own overhead strike in September against Liverpool when the Bulgaria striker hurled himself backward to met a cross from Nani.

On Saturday, Berbatov - United's leading scorer - didn't appear until the 67th when it was 1-1.

Nani put United in front in the 40th by controlling Ryan Giggs' pass before rolling the ball past Hart.

City equalized in the 64th when Shaun Wright-Phillips crossed for Edin Dzeko, whose shot went in off David Silva's back.

"Nani scored a fantastic goal but nobody in their right mind will talk about it because the winner was unbelievable," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We have had some fantastic goals here but in terms of execution, you will never see that."

Even though the score didn't reflect it, Arsenal's victory was far more comfortable, with Robin van Persie scoring twice.

The opener was an athletic volley from Cesc Fabregas' cross and Walcott created the second for Van Persie, who slotted home at the start of the second half.

"The chances we created and the speed of our play was fantastic," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "We are in the title race and in a good position."

The result sent Wolves back to the bottom of the standings in place of West Ham. The Hammers came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at West Bromwich, which was only out of the drop zone on goal difference.

Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas both scored for West Brom in the opening eight minutes and Dorrans' free kick was diverted into the net by the arm of Hammers defender Winston Reid.

Demba Ba pulled a goal back in the 50th - the Senegal striker's first in English football - and he netted again in the 83rd after Carlton Cole's goal.

Wigan was the third team in the relegation zone despite putting the brakes on Liverpool's recent revival with a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Steve Gohouri canceled out Raul Meireles' fourth goal in five games for Liverpool, which had risen to sixth by winning four straight games under new manager Kenny Dalglish.

Blackpool was two points above the bottom three after ending a five-match losing run by drawing 1-1 with Aston Villa, which was just a point and a place higher up. Birmingham joined Villa on 30 points after beating Stoke 1-0.

In the race for the fourth Champions League spot, Tottenham rallied to beat Sunderland 2-1 and provisionally dislodge Chelsea from fourth place ahead of the champions' match at Fulham on Monday.

Niko Kranjcar volleyed in Tottenham's match-winner for the second successive Saturday after pouncing when Sandro's right-wing cross was only partially headed out by John Mensah.

Tottenham defender Michael Dawson canceled out Asamoah Gyan's 10th goal of the season for Sunderland with a header just before halftime.

The teams in the middle of the standings - Newcastle and Blackburn - also met and neither side could find a breakthrough, drawing 0-0.

Bolton hosts Everton on Sunday.

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