United hold comfortable lead at the break

Manchester United hold an interval lead over Blackburn.

Manchester United hold an interval lead over Blackburn.

Dimitar Berbatov’s first goal since his September hat-trick against Liverpool gave them the perfect start inside two minutes, before Ji-Sung Park exchanged passes with Wayne Rooney to make it two.

Berbatov then added a second before the 30-minute mark had been reached to put United in total control.

West Brom found a timely return to form at Everton, taking a 2-1 lead into the dressing rooms.

Chris Brunt’s corner picked out Paul Scharner who headed them into the lead with his first goal for the club, before Brunt curled a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner of Tim Howard’s goal – with question marks over the keeper’s positioning.

Tim Cahill gave Everton a chance, though, heading home from a corner with three minutes of the half left.

At Craven Cottage, Fulham were heading for a second successive home defeat as Birmingham, fresh from their win over Chelsea, led by the only goal.

Sebastien Larsson scored it, but he owed everything to Alexander Hleb whose strong run and clever centre played him in.

At the foot of the table, bottom side West Ham opened up a valuable lead over fellow strugglers Wigan with Valon Behrami nipping in to take advantage of some confusion in the Wigan defence after 34 minutes.

It would have been worse for Roberto Martinez’s men just moments later had Ali Al Habsi not produced a stunning save to keep out Frederic Piquionne’s header.

Blackpool led Bolton 1-0 at the Reebok as Ian Evatt flicked in a header, while Stoke against Manchester City was goalless.

The only other game without a goal was at Molineux where Wolves were taking on Sunderland, with the home side coming the closest to scoring when Richard Stearman’s close-range scoop into the net was ruled out for offside.

Sunderland had their chances too, with Kieran Richardson hitting a free-kick against the post.

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