Ferguson delighted as Manchester United go top

January 18th, 2009 - 1:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea London, Jan 18 (DPA) Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was understandably delighted after his side hit the top of the English Premier League for the first time this season thanks to Dimitar Berbatov’s late, late winner in a 1-0 victory at Bolton Wanderers.The Bulgarian headed the winner Sunday in the last minute of normal time to lift the champions one point clear of Liverpool.

“Being top is not decisive at this stage but it is always nice because it is the best place to be,” an elated Ferguson said.

“We have been playing catch-up in terms of fixtures for a while now. We still have another game in hand against Fulham on February 14. Only after that will we have a good idea of where we stand between Liverpool, Chelsea and ourselves.”

With Wayne Rooney missing through injury, United Ferguson started with Berbatov and Tevez in attack but his side were thwarted for almost 90 minutes by a committed Bolton defence.

Jaaskelainen saved brilliantly from a header by Cristiano Ronaldo and the Finn pulled off a series of superb saves in the second half but United finally snatched the winner through Berbatov’s header in the dying seconds.

Berbatov’s goal ensured United their ninth 1-0 victory of the season and extended their run of clean sheets to 10, equalling the Premier League record previously held by Chelsea.

Chelsea, too, snatched a dramatic win to keep their title hopes alive, coming from a goal down with two minutes to go to snatch a 2-1 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge.

Rory Delap had given Stoke a shock lead on the hour mark with a neat finish and the visitors maintained their lead until two minutes from the end.

But Juliano Belletti equalized with a header and Frank Lampard, on his 400th appearance for the club, hammering in the winner with his left foot three minutes into injury time.

For manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, the victory spared his blushes and kept his side third, within two points of United.

“What you need, Frank gives to you,” the Portuguese said. “He is a man. Before I have some pressure, now I don’t have pressure.

“Frank is part of the history of this club. He is a fantastic player and he and his family will remember his goal in the last minute of his 400th appearance.”

Aston Villa came from behind to win 2-1 at Sunderland, with Gareth Barry firing the winner from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time.

Villa, who played the last 20 minutes with just 10 men after Ashley Young was sent off, stay fourth, one point behind Chelsea and three behind the leaders.

Arsenal remained three points behind Villa in fifth after they won 3-1 at Hull City, where a draw looked on the cards until Samir Nasri and Nicklas Bendtner scored inside the last 10 minutes.

Manchester City ended a week of transfer rumours - concerning AC Milan’s Brazilian star Kaka - on a high note with a 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic to move away from trouble.

Pablo Zabaleta put City in front after 53 minutes and City survived the sending off of captain Richard Dunne one minute later to take all three points.

“It has been a difficult week preparing the team considering the interest (about Kaka) around the club,” City manager Mark Hughes said.

“But we really stuck at our task. We had to dig in and beat a side that has been in arguably as good form as any recently in the Premier League.”

West Bromwich Albion moved off the bottom of the table after a convincing 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Chris Brunt put the home side in front after four minutes and two second-half goals from Rob Koren secured three vital points in their battle for survival, level on 21 points with Middlesbrough.

Tottenham Hotspur now prop up the table one point behind after Blackburn Rovers beat Newcastle United 3-0 at Ewood Park.

A penalty from Benni McCarthy and a goal from Jason Roberts were enough to give manager Sam Allardyce victory over his former side.

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