| Paul Scholes, playing his 700th match for Manchester United, celebrates after scoring the opening goal, at Old Trafford, on Saturday |
London: Manchester United and Arsenal enjoyed emphatic home wins over Wigan Athletic and Southampton, respectively, on Saturday to join Chelsea and Manchester City in the top four and give the Premier League table a familiar feel.
United beat Wigan 4-0 at Old Trafford, with Paul Scholes among the scorers on his 700th appearance for the club, while Arsenal hammered Southampton 6-1 at the Emirates to hand the promoted side a fourth straight defeat leaving them bottom.
Chelsea and City failed to win but the European champions stayed top after the west London derby at Queens Park Rangers finished in a 0-0 stalemate ending their 100 percent record. Champions Manchester City also dropped points in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City where Peter Crouch put the home side ahead with the use of his arm before Spaniard Javi Garcia replied with a debut strike.
Liverpool ended an emotional week following the release of new evidence about the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989 with a 1-1 draw at Sunderland, leaving the fallen English giants fourth from bottom and still without a win this season.
Leaders Chelsea have 10 points from four matches followed by Manchester United (9), Arsenal (8) and Manchester City (8).
The build-up to the match at Loftus Road was overshadowed by whether QPR’s Anton Ferdinand would shake hands with Chelsea’s John Terry and Ashley Cole after Terry was cleared in court of racially abusing Ferdinand in the same fixture last season.
Ferdinand snubbed Terry in the pre-match team handshakes, continuing their feud following a racism row last season. Cole defended his team mate in the court case in July, and in the event Ferdinand snubbed them both while the visiting players were given a torrid afternoon by the home fans. Both teams had chances to win until the dying moments and Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo said he was pleased to leave with a point.
United closed to within a point of Chelsea with victory over Wigan but they struggled at first and missed the chance to take the lead in the third minute when they got a fortunate penalty.
The referee ruled Danny Welbeck was felled by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi but the United striker appeared to have dived to win the spot kick which Javier Hernandez missed. It took United until the 51st minute to take the lead when Scholes scored, before Hernandez made it 2-0 and debutants Alex Buttner and Nick Powell completed the rout on a red-letter day for the club.
As well as Scholes making his 700th United appearance, Ryan Giggs was playing his 600th Premier League match and Rio Ferdinand featured for the club for the 400th time.