Premiership: Manchester United moves seven points clear

Manchester United had to come from behind to pick up all three points as they beat Southampton 2-1.

Forward Jay Rodriguez put the visitors ahead after just three minutes at Old Trafford, as the ex-Burnley player took advantage of some confusion between Ryan Giggs and David de Gea to slip the ball home.

United were back on level terms just minutes later, though, as Wayne Rooney drove home from a deflected Shinji Kagawa cross, and after 27 minutes Sir Alex Ferguson's side were ahead, as Rooney was again on hand to tap home from close range after Patrice Evra had headed the ball into his path.

United had further chances to extend their advantage but failed to take them - Robin van Persie seeing one strike chalked off in the second half - and Ferguson's men nearly paid the price for that, but Southampton could not quite manage to find a late equaliser despite some threatening late advances.

Winning is the name of the game at this stage of the season," United manager Alex Ferguson said.

"For the first 30 minutes I thought we were fantastic, we played really well. But in the second half Southampton have been the best team to play here this season. We were fortunate to win the game."

Southampton might have earned a draw late on when Rickie Lambert's free kick forced a flying save from David De Gea.

The Red Devils are now seven points clear at the top of the English Premier League table ahead of Manchester City

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Reading 2-2 Chelsea

Meanwhile, Second-half substitute Adam Le Fondre scored an injury-time winner as Reading staged a stunning comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium.

Juan Mata grabbed the opener, driving home from close range after a superb through-ball from Fernando Torres, before Lampard belted a header into the top corner halfway through the second half only for Le Fondre to hit twice in three minutes to stun the London side.

Chelsea were really hoping that they could turn the result to their favour after only getting a draw for a replay in the FA Cup against Brentford at the weekend.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez was unable to comprehend how his side allowed a two-goal lead to slip in their 2-2 draw with Reading tonight.

The Blues dominated the match until the death when substitute Adam Le Fondre hit a late brace for the struggling Royals to salvage a point.

"It's difficult to explain because we had a lot of chances," he told reporters. "We could have killed the game."

"We conceded two late goals. Especially the last one, a free kick from the middle of the park. It's difficult to explain."

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Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool

Arsenal fought back from two goals down to draw with Liverpool in a thrilling Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Both sides knew defeat could prove fatal to their hopes of closing back up on the top four, but neither looked ready to settle for anything other than all three points in an open and entertaining match.

Liverpool took an early lead through Luis Suarez after terrible defending by Arsenal, and then looked to be in complete control when Jordan Henderson walked in a second on the hour.

However, as so often in a frustrating season, the Gunners suddenly burst into life as in-form Olivier Giroud reduced the deficit with a close-range header and Theo Walcott then rattled in an equaliser.

There were more chances at each end, but defeat for either side would have been an injustice

Other Matches

A late strike from Gareth Bale gave Tottenham a share of the points in a 1-1 draw against Norwich at Carrow Road.

Andre Villas-Boas' side fell behind after 32 minutes to Wesley Hoolahan's strike, but with ten minutes remaining Bale rescued a point - getting the ball from Jermain Defoe before running with it and unleashing a left-footed shot that was beyond Mark Bunn before he could get down to it.

Elsewhere, a brace from Leighton Baines was enough for Everton to stave off a spirited West Brom fightback and claim a 2-1 win at Goodison Park - moving them within a point of fourth-placed Spurs.

Baines opened the scoring on the half-hour, and in fine fashion too: after receiving the ball from Leon Osman, Baines used his trusty left-foot to rifle the ball beyond Ben Foster through a crowd of players.


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