Man United creams it with an eighth win

Manchester United hammered out a statement of intent to their title rivals as the champions returned to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at West Ham yesterday.

Manchester United hammered out a statement of intent to their title rivals as the champions returned to the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at West Ham yesterday.

United's defensive excellence in recent weeks has reached record-breaking levels and they chalked up another milestone en route to a 13th consecutive cleansheet and an eighth successive win.

Ferguson's back-four needed to be at their best as West Ham made a tigerish start.

Dimitar Berbatov had the ball in West Ham's net midway through the first half when he poked home Paul Scholes' deflected shot, but the United striker's effort was correctly ruled offside.

With Ronaldo seemingly content to moan rather than mesmerise it was left to Giggs to break the deadlock in the 61st minute with a classic piece of wing-play.

Giggs relies more on experience than trickery nowadays but the Welsh midfielder showed he still has talent as he cut inside Cole's lunging tackle and swerved past Scott Parker into the penalty area before sending a fierce low shot fizzing past Green.

Gianfranco Zola's side responded well and Cole was unlucky to see a flicked effort deflect wide but, although United were never at their best, the feeling grew by the minute that the visitors' defence would remain unbreached again. - Sapa

RESULTS: Blackburn Rovers 0, Aston Villa 2; Chelsea 0, Hull City 0; Everton 3, Bolton Wanderers 0; Manchester City 1, Middlesbrough 0; Portsmouth 2, Liverpool 3; Sunderland 2, Stoke City 0; West Brom 2, Newcastle United 3; Wigan Athletic 0, Fulham 0; Arsenal 0; Tottenham Hotspur 0 - Reuters

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