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Wed Apr 23 16:05:57 SAST 2014

Scholes scores in 700th United match as City held

Julian Guyer, Sapa-AFP | 16 September, 2012 09:420 Comments
Manchester United v Wigan Athletic - Premier League
Alexander Buttner of Manchester United celebrates with teammates after scoring the third goal during the Premier League match against Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on September 15, 2012 in Manchester, England
Image by: Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Manchester United veteran Paul Scholes marked his 700th appearance for the club with a goal in a 4-0 Premier League win over Wigan on Saturday as champions Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke.

Elsewhere, Arsenal thrashed bottom of the table Southampton 6-1 to leave the promoted Saints still searching for their first points of the season.

At Old Trafford, Scholes got the ball rolling for United before debutants, Alex Buttner and Nick Powell, completed the scoring as the home side went second in the table, a point behind Chelsea who were held 0-0 by Queen’s Park Rangers.

United missed the chance to take an early lead when Wigan’s Ali Al Habsi saved Javier Hernandez’s weak penalty.

It was a controversial spot-kick, won after Danny Welbeck dived in the box.

But after half-time Al Habsi could only weakly palm away Nani’s cross, allowing Scholes to score his 163rd goal for United.

Hernandez then atoned for his spot-kick error by making it 2-0.

Dutch left-back Buttner, a recent signing from Vitesse Arnhem, then scored a superb solo goal, beating three men down the left before a shot from a tight angle went in off Al Habsi.

And eight minutes from time, midfielder Powell made it 4-0.

“We always remember Paul Scholes as someone who arrives late in the box,” said United manager Alex Ferguson. “But his role has changed over the years, playing a holding role.

“Buttner was rash at times but he has great enthusiasm and he is a great finisher.” 

At the Britannia Stadium, England striker Peter Crouch gave Stoke a 15th minute lead when he bundled the ball in from close range, having appeared to handle in the build-up.

But Manchester City were level 10 minutes before half time when Javi Garcia scored on his debut after heading in Carlos Tevez’s free-kick.

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross’s goal-line clearance late on ensured a point for the Potters.

“It was basketball — not football,” said City manager Roberto Mancini of Crouch’s goal.

Arsenal, who are now third in the table, struck in the 11th minute at the Emirates when Kieran Gibbs’s cross was turned in to his own net by Southampton defender Jos Hooiveld.

Lukas Podolski’s long range free-kick then made it 2-0, Gervinho added Arsenal’s third 10 minutes before half-time and another Gibbs-inspired own-goal, this time by Nathaniel Clyne, made it 4-0.

There was still time in the half for Saints to pull one back when Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny dropped a cross and Danny Fox scored.

But Gervinho netted again in the 71st minute when he tapped in from close range after substitute Aaron Ramsey’s cross hit the post.

And, two minutes from time, Theo Walcott scored against his old club to make it 6-1.

“We moved the ball at a very high pace and gave Southampton lots of problems,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

“If you give quality players time they will hurt you and that’s what happened,” said Saints manager Nigel Adkins.

At Loftus Road, there was no pre-match handshake from Anton Ferdinand for Chelsea captain John Terry in what turned out to be a goalless draw.

The match was the first between the clubs since since Chelsea and England defender Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against the Hoops’ Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October.

“Both sets of players played very professionally,” said Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo.

“As far as we are concerned, our players offered it (a handshake) and if the other player doesn’t want to receive it, then we move on.” 

Saturday’s late game left Liverpool still searching for a first win under manager Brendan Rodgers after a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

Steven Fletcher gave Sunderland a 29th minute before a late equaliser from Luis Suarez rescued a point for the visitors in a match that came at the end of a week where an independent report exonerated Liverpool fans of any involvement in the death of 96 supporters during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Aston Villa won their first league match under new manager Paul Lambert as they ended Swansea’s unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 home win thanks to a goals from Matthew Lowton and a late own-goal by Christian Benteke.

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov scored twice as Fulham beat West Brom 3-0.

Either side of Berbatov’s first-half goals, the Baggies were reduced to 10 men when Peter Odemwingie was shown a red card for lashing out at Fulham defender Sascha Riether.

Steve Sidwell completed the scoring a minute from time.

Norwich and West Ham shared the points in a goalless draw.

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Scholes scores in 700th United match as City held

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