Wayne Rooney scored twice and Manchester United outplayed Aston Villa 4-0 yesterday to move six points clear in the English Premier League title race, while Arsenal rallied from two goals and a man down to win 3-2 at Bolton.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 35th goal of the season in all competitions to put the Red Devils on the road to an easy victory at Old Trafford and Carlos Tevez added a second in the 33rd minute. Rooney's brace in the 53rd and 70th minutes means that Alex Ferguson's team has a huge goals differential of 53, having scored 68 and conceded only 15.
After Matt Taylor had scored twice for relegation-threatened Bolton at Reebok Stadium and Abou Diaby had been shown a 31st-minute red card for a foul on Gretar Steinsson, the Gunners looked likely to fall further behind leader Manchester United, who now have 76 points from 32 games with six more rounds to play.
But William Gallas replied in the 62nd minute, Robin van Persie equalized with a 68th-minute penalty after Gary Cahill had brought down Alexander Hleb, and an own-goal by defender Jlloyd Samuel in the final minute gave Arsenal the three points.
Last-place Derby County was guaranteed relegation after a 2-2 draw at home to next-to-last Fulham.
In yesterday's other matches, Birmingham beat Manchester City 3-1, Portsmouth downed Wigan 2-0, Reading and Blackburn drew 0-0 and Sunderland edged West Ham 2-1.
Lukas Podolski scored his first Bundesliga goal in a year in the 81st minute to earn Bayern Munich A 1-1 draw with FC Nuremberg.
After Zvjezdan Misimovic put Nuremberg 1-0 ahead in the 44th minute, the league leader was in danger of an upset. But Podolski made sure his team captured a point on a day none of its rivals made up ground.
Second-place Hamburger SV drew 1-1 against Arminia Bielefeld and Schalke jumped to third place by drawing 0-0 with Karlsruher SC. Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-0 to Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen was beaten 2-1 by MSV Duisburg.
ITALIAN SERIE A
First-place Inter Milan and second-place AS Roma each played to draws to maintain Inter's four-point lead in Serie A. Inter drew 1-1 with Lazio and Roma drew 1-1 with Cagliari.
Hernan Crespo put Inter in front by redirecting a cross from Douglas Maicon in the 11th minute and Tommaso Rocchi equalized for Lazio in the 59th when he slipped through Inter's offside trap.
Roma defender Matteo Ferrari scored an own-goal for Cagliari in the third minute. Francesco Totti equalized just before halftime.
The draw moved Cagliari out of the relegation zone.
SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Kevin Thomson scored in the final minute of the first half and Rangers edged defending champion Celtic 1-0 to move six points clear of its rival in the Scottish league with a game in hand.
The victory at Ibrox Park gives Walter Smith's team 74 points from 29 games and Celtic has 68 from 30 with only eight games to go.
Fernando Cavenaghi scored twice and Bordeaux rallied to beat Nancy 2-1 to stay in control of second place in the French Ligue 1. Third-place Nancy finished the game with nine men after two red cards ... FC Barcelona surrendered a two-goal lead and lost to Real Betis 3-2 in the Spanish Primera Liga, with Edu Schmidt scoring twice ... Ajax Amsterdam kept its Dutch National League title hopes alive with a 4-2 win at SC Heerenveen while league leader PSV Eindhoven could manage only a 0-0 draw at NEC Nijmegen. The results reduced PSV's lead over second-placed Ajax to five points with three rounds to go.