United Takes Premier Lead, Arsenal Comes Back

By the 83rd minute Manchester United had nearly closed out their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich, but what came over the loudspeaker at Old Trafford was no less exciting: that Swansea just scored on Manchester City, leaving the Red Devils to take first in the Premier League. Rooney scored twice for United, putting him at 26 goals on the season. An optimistic Alex Ferguson has set the bar high for Rooney to finish with 40 goals, with only two months remaining.

Arsenal managed to come from behind yet again in defeating Newcastle United. Newcastle scored early when Hatem Ben Arfa received a leading pass on the right from Kieran Gibbs, allowing Arfa to power one home with a strong left foot. The Gunners responded less than a minute later, when Robin Van Persie caught the Newcastle defense sleeping. The equalizer was Van Persie’s 25th of the Premier League this season.

The match grew tense as neither team could muster a lead. The winning goal came in the 5th minute of stoppage time for Arsenal, as Thomas Vermaelen sent one into the net off a deflection from four yards out. The victory means that Arsenal closes the gap to one point behind a struggling Tottenham. The recent streak of success for the Gunners also sparks a contract renewal for Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky.

Meanwhile, Chelsea fights to stay in the race with a victory over Stoke City, with Newcastle and Liverpool further back still.

SPAIN | Barcelona defeated Racing Santander with two goals from Lionel Messi, putting him only five goals shy of the club record (235) set by Cesar Rodriguez in the 1940s and 50s. Messi is only two goals behind Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo with 32 goals on the season. Madrid maintains a 10 point lead over their rivals on the closing stretch.

With Messi on a hot streak of 16 goals in the last six matches for club and country, Pep Guardiola and company are hoping to keep the momentum building as they make a stab at the league title.

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