Sissoko the hero

London: Manchester United stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to 10 points as Wayne Rooney scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Fulham on Saturday.

United, hoping to exert even more pressure on second-placed Manchester City who host Liverpool on Sunday, laboured at times but Rooney's 79th-minute strike proved decisive.

Both sides struck the woodwork in the first half, Patrice Evra for United and Brian Ruiz for a lively Fulham side, and Rooney also thumped a shot against the post in the second half before capitalising on an error to make the breakthrough.

Philippe Senderos, whose misjudgement allowed Rooney to race on to a long ball and score, nearly equalised in stoppage time with a header that was cleared off the line by Robin van Persie.

United have 62 points from 25 games with champions City on 52, having played one game less.

Chelsea's week went from bad to worse on Saturday as Newcastle's French legion of new players inspired a second successive Premier League victory.

Moussa Sissoko, one of the four signings from across the English Channel in the January transfer window, scored twice on his St James' Park debut to claim a 3-2 victory.

The France midfielder, who joined the Magpies on January 24, scored in the 68th minute to level the game at 2-2 and then blasted home a brilliant winner to further boost Newcastle's hopes of avoiding relegation.

Chelsea looked on its way to a first victory in four attempts in all competitions. Frank Lampard cancelled out Jonas Gutierrez's first-half opener at St James' Park by scoring his 10th Premier League goal of the season for the 10th successive season and Juan Mata curled home a superb 61st-minute effort.

Arsenal responded to its midweek draw against Liverpool by beating Stoke 1-0 to go a point behind Tottenham and Everton, who are fourth and fifth respectively. Substitute Lukas Podolski scored with a deflected free kick to give Arsenal a much-needed victory.

After securing just five points in five league matches, sixth-placed Arsenal was in danger of losing ground in its quest for a European spot.

(agencies)

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