Scholes the hero again

LONDON - Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes scored his 100th Premier League goal as reigning champions Manchester United returned to the top of the table with a 1-0 win at gritty strugglers Wolves.

LONDON - Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes scored his 100th Premier League goal as reigning champions Manchester United returned to the top of the table with a 1-0 win at gritty strugglers Wolves.

Scholes found the target at Molineux in the 73rd minute when he was first to react after Nani's cross came off Christophe Berra.

The victory allowed Sir Alex Ferguson's side to open a two-point gap on both Chelsea and Arsenal though Sam Vokes could have equalised in stoppage time for relegation-threatened Wolves, but he blasted over the top.

Chelsea, who played Stoke in the FA Cup quarterfinals yesterday, have a game in hand over their title rivals.

"I'm very pleased with that," Scholes, 35, told ESPN. "To score goals is what you need to do to win games. Thankfully tonight it's fallen to me and I've managed to put it in."

Ferguson hailed Scholes by saying: "He's fantastic. A hundred league goals from a midfield player in the Premier League is outstanding. He's a fantastic player.

"The way we play him these days, where he sits a bit deeper, maybe takes away that goal threat he used to always give you as a young player. But the opportunity arose today and he was the best player to have it."

Earlier, Arsenal maintained their title push with a 3-1 win at home to struggling Burnley.

Arsenal took the lead at the Emirates Stadium with a typically stylish goal 11 minutes before half time. Cesc Fabregas played the ball to Samir Nasri and continued his run into the box before receiving a superb return pass.

Spain international Fabregas then hit a first-time shot past Clarets goalkeeper Brian Jensen.

Five minutes later Fabregas went off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was replaced by Abou Diaby.

Arsenal squandered several chances to double their lead and were made to pay in the 50th minute when Burnley striker David Nugent lifted the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

However, Arsenal winger Theo Walcott - much criticised after a lacklustre display in England's midweek friendly win over Egypt - got the second goal the home side had been threatening on the hour mark. Substitute Andrey Arshavin sealed Arsenal's victory in the closing seconds.

"Theo Walcott gave you the great response you waited for," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

But Wenger said club captain Fabregas's fitness ahead of Arsenal's Champions League round of 16 second-leg tie against Porto tomorrow was a concern.

Bolton moved further away from the drop zone with a 2-1 win away to West Ham in a match where they played the final 18 minutes a man down after Israel midfielder Tamir Cohen was sent off for a second bookable offence. - Sapa-AFP

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