Soccer / English Premier League / Man U. climbs into top spot
Van Persie scores against old club; Chelsea held.
LONDON - Manchester United scaled the Premier League summit for the first time this season after Robin van Persie scored against his old club Arsenal in a victory yesterday more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.
Van Persie's early effort and a second-half header from Patrice Evra saw United leapfrog Chelsea after the London side conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Swansea City.
Victor Moses put Chelsea ahead just past the hour in south Wales but Pablo Hernandez grabbed a point in the 88th minute.
United are a point clear of the European champions with 24 from 10 games while Manchester City missed the chance to move level on points at the top after drawing 0-0 at West Ham United.
Marouane Fellaini scored twice for Everton in a 2-2 draw at Fulham as they rose to fourth place with 17 points, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference.
Andre Villas-Boas' Spurs side slipped to a surprise 1-0 home defeat by Wigan Athletic whose scorer Ben Watson was the first Englishman to net a league goal for the club this year.
Norwich City beat Stoke City 1-0 while Aston Villa achieved only their second win of the season, 1-0 at Sunderland.
After a controversial blood and thunder clash at Stamford Bridge last Sunday when United beat Chelsea 3-2 to end the west London team's unbeaten start to the league season, they might have expected a similar battle at home to Arsenal.
They need not have worried, however, as the club they once regularly sparred with for silverware produced a listless performance that could have been more harshly punished.
United, who thrashed Arsenal 8-2 in the corresponding fixture last season, could even afford a missed penalty by Wayne Rooney on the stroke of halftime.
Santi Cazorla's well-taken consolation goal in stoppage time flattered the visitors who had midfielder Jack Wilshere sent off for a second booking after the break.
All the more galling for Arsenal was the sight of Van Persie scoring against them after eight years of banging in goals for the north London club, who are losing touch in the title race.
The Dutchman, who joined United from Arsenal in August having scored 37 league goals last season, needed less than three minutes to score after a mistake by Thomas Vermaelen.
Chelsea were just a few minutes away from a noteworthy victory at the end of a seven-day period that saw them lose to United in the league, beat them 5-4 in the League Cup and also find themselves embroiled in another racism storm.
Moses headed Chelsea in front after an hour, but as heavy rain began to fall at the Liberty Stadium, the visitors got pushed back and Hernandez beat Petr Cech to deny Roberto di Matteo's team victory.