LONDON: Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United beat Southampton 2-1 to stretch their lead to seven points at the top of the Premier League.

Second-placed Manchester City had ‘only’ drawn at QPR on Tuesday and United capitalised despite falling behind to a Jay Rodriguez strike after a poor back pass by Michael Carrick inside three minutes.

Rooney shot United level five minutes later from Shinji Kagawa’s assist then tapped in his second after 27 minutes when Patrice Evra headed Robin Van Persie’s free-kick from the left across goal.

Liverpool appeared to be cruising to victory in North London when they led Arsenal 2-0 after an hour but the Gunners scored twice in rapid succession to force a 2-2 draw.

Luis Suarez fired Liverpool ahead in the fifth minute to punish lax defending and Arsenal’s cover was at fault again when Jordan Henderson extended Liverpool’s lead in the 59th minute.

Olivier Giroud maintained his recent excellent form to head the first Arsenal goal five minutes later from a Jack Wilshere free kick, and the French striker laid off a pass from Wilshere for Theo Walcott to equalise in the 67th minute.

Third-placed Chelsea led 2-0 at Reading until two late goals from substitute Adam Le Fondre earned the hosts a point from an improbable 2-2 draw with strikes in the 87th minute and the fifth of stoppage time.

Earlier Juan Mata’s comversion of Fernando Torres’s pass in the 45th minute and Frank Lampard’s header after 65 had put Chelsea in charge. England leftback Leighton Baines scored twice, with the first a 20-yard drive and the second a penalty, as Everton beat West Bromwich 2-1 to move within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham.

Bale saves Spurs

A defensive blunder from Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga provided Shane Long with an Albion consolation.

Tottenham could only manage a 1-1 draw at Norwich, and even that looked beyond them for a long while.

Wes Hoolahan converted Anthony Pilkington’s cross to give Norwich a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute but they could not hold it and Gareth Bale produced a superb equaliser after 80 minutes, tearing forward with the ball at his feet from the halfway line before cracking a powerful shot into the left corner.

Fulham triumphed 3-1 in the London derby with West Ham at Craven Cottage thanks to goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodallega, both created by Damien Duff, and a late Joey O’Brien own goal. Kevin Nolan brought West Ham briefly level in the 48th minute.

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