Manchester United opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League yesterday after a 1-0 win at Fulham, on a day when Chelsea’s outside title hopes suffered a seemingly fatal blow.

Wayne Rooney scored the only goal 11 minutes from time, in a match in which both sides hit the woodwork before the England striker found the winner. Philippe Senderos almost equalized for Fulham at the end but Robin van Persie cleared his header off the line to send United 10 points clear of neighbor Manchester City, which plays Liverpool today.

Chelsea is now 15 points behind United after being beaten 3-2 at Newcastle, thanks to two second-half goals from home debutant Moussa Sissoko. Frank Lampard and Juan Mata had put Chelsea in front after Jonas Gutierrez’s opener, but Sissoko leveled and then clinched victory with his second goal in the 90th minute.

Chelsea caretaker manager Rafa Benitez was angry at a decision that went against his side, when Demba Ba was kicked in the face in the penalty area.

“After looking at the replay, the incident with Demba Ba is a red card and a penalty,” Benitez said. “We have a player with a broken nose and bleeding for a while. It was not given as a penalty. If it is in the middle of the park, the play would carry on and then we would go back and get a free kick. It should be exactly the same in the box.”

Everton came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with second-bottom Aston Villa and stays fifth, while Lukas Podolski scored a second-half winner as Arsenal edged out Stoke 1-0 to move within a point of the Merseyside club.