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Man Utd Win Derby to Go 8 Clear as Chelsea Draw
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Manchester United have opened up an eight-point advantage over Chelsea at the Premiership summit, after a comfortable 3-1 derby day victory over Manchester City. On Sunday, Chelsea drew 1-1 with Arsenal, stopping them from closing the gap.

In Saturday's early kick-off United were keen to crank up the pressure on Jose Mourinho and his side and it took just six minutes for them to break the deadlock, when Wayne Rooney calmly slotted home from six yards.

On the stroke of half-time, on-song Louis Saha grabbed United's second when he bundled home from close range, after some appalling City defending allowed Gabriel Heinze to angle in a cross from the left.

Hatem Trabelsi could have made for a frenetic finish when he scored a fine strike for City but with six minutes remaining, Cristiano Ronaldo took advantage of some suspect Richard Dunne defending, to put his side in control at the top of the table.

On Sunday's late game, Arsenal and Chelsea battled out an even contest at Stamford Bridge. The pulsating match seemed likely to see no goals but against the flow of play, Mathieu Flamini, ably supported by Alexander Hleb, drove home a low shot to put the Gunners 1-0 up on 78 minutes. Many teams would have rolled over and died at that moment but Chelsea's true grit shone through. Barreling forward for the equalizer, Chelsea not only pulled a goal back thanks to a Mathieu Essien wonder-strike from 30 yards out but in the dying minutes, almost clinched the game with two shots from Essien and Frank Lampard finding the woodwork.

Fratton Park bore witness to one of the best goals of the season as Portsmouth's Matthew Taylor scored a stunner in his side's 2-0 win over Everton. The ball fell to the in-form midfielder 40 yards out from goal but with an instinctive volley, Taylor buried the ball past a stunned Tim Howard.

With Portsmouth in the ascendancy, in the 26th minute, Nwankwo Kanu continued his fine season with a superbly controlled volley of his own, from Gary O'Neil's pinpoint delivery.

Tottenham continue to impress at White Hart Lane, obliterating a woeful Charlton side 5-1.

Dimitar Berbatov and Teemu Tainio put Spurs in control with two quick-fire goals in the 31st and 33rd minutes, before Michael Dawson gave Charlton hope on the stroke of half-time pulling a goal back.

In the second period Charlton slumped horribly as goals from Steed Malbranque, his first for Tottenham, Jermain Defoe and Berbatov's second gave the home side a handsome victory.

Newcastle's recent surge kept going at Blackburn as they secured an impressive 3-1 victory away at Ewood Park.

Obafemi Martins followed up his midweek goal with a thumping finish, before an unmarked Steven Taylor put Newcastle in control in the 35th minute.

Blackburn's woes were compounded when Stephane Henchoz was sent-off for a professional foul just before half-time. Things improved briefly upon restart, when Morten Gamst Pedersen scored a fine early goal; albeit to no avail.

In the final minute, with Brad Friedel up for a Blackburn corner, Martins collected possession on the halfway line before evading two challenges to slot into an empty goal.

Liverpool were too strong for Fulham at Anfield as they eased to a 4-0 victory, thanks to a second-half goal blitz.

Steven Gerrard opened the scoring when he dispatched a rebound after seeing his own penalty saved, leaving Jamie Carragher and Luis Garcia to add gloss to a polished second 45 minutes. In the final minute, substitute Mark Gonzalez completed the rout with Liverpool's fourth.

Middlesbrough and Wigan played out a 1-1 stalemate at The Riverside as Yakubu Aiyegbeni's second half strike cancelled out Henri Camara's penalty, after Emanuel Pogatetz had felled compatriot Paul Scharner in his own box.

In a game best forgot Watford and Reading played out a 0-0 stalemate that few will, or will want, to remember.

(CRI via Sky Sports December 11, 2006)

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