Rooney hat-trick as United hammer Arsenal 8-2

LONDON, (Reuters) – Manchester United and Manchester  City left their tortured opponents and the Premier League in no  doubt they are the teams to beat this season after hugely  confident demolitions of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.

Champions United battered a depleted Arsenal 8-2 at Old  Trafford with Wayne Rooney hitting a hat-trick and rampant City  striker Edin Dzeko scored four in a 5-1 away rout of a  shell-shocked Spurs.

The Manchester duo stormed to the top of the table with  their third wins out of three after Chelsea and Liverpool, now  two points back, had hit the summit on Saturday.

Wayne Rooney

In contrast, beleaguered Arsenal lie 17th and Spurs, who  have only played two games, sit bottom after failing to win in  the league this season.

“I think that we played a really good game against a  Tottenham side that I think is a fantastic team,” Manchester  City manager Roberto Mancini told Sky Sports.

“I was sure that Dzeko this year could score lots of goals.  I’m disappointed only for the goal we conceded.
“The season is very very long but it was important that we  started the season well. The next game will be hard because  everyone will think we can score three or four goals.”

United carved a largely inexperienced Arsenal side apart  from the start and it was no surprise when England’s Danny  Welbeck, who later went off with a hamstring injury, took  advantage of poor defending to head in Anderson’s scooped pass.

Goalkeeper David De Gea, who has suffered wobbly moments in  his fledgling United career, made amends with a penalty save  from Robin van Persie midway through the first half and his  smile was broader when Ashley Young curled in a beauty.

Rooney bent home a perfect free kick as Arsenal keeper  Wojciech Szczesny’s goading backfired but De Gea made another  slip on halftime when Theo Walcott’s shot went in through his  legs.

Another delightful Rooney special and a Nani chip followed  after the break before Park Ji-sung and Van Persie traded  strikes.

Defender Carl Jenkinson became the third Arsenal player in  three league matches to be sent off and Rooney completed his  treble with a late penalty before winger Young finished off the  remarkable rout with another fine goal.

“The performance today was incredible,” said Rooney, who  reached the milestone of 152 United goals.
“We’ve got a lot of free kick takers at the club…and we’ve  been working on it quite a bit. Every time we play Arsenal we  have a go at them and try to score goals.”

While United manager Alex Ferguson decided to stick with the  youthful side which beat Spurs 3-0 on Monday and leave regulars  Rio Ferdinand and Javier Hernandez on the bench, Mancini made  changes such is the depth in his expensively-assembled squad.

Debutant Samir Nasri, who quit Arsenal along with Cesc  Fabregas to leave troubled Arsene Wenger scrambling for players  late on in the transfer window, was the architect of the first  two City goals with Dzeko expertly converting his crosses.

The Bosnia forward, anonymous last term after a big move  from VfL Wolfsburg, sealed his hat-trick from close range after  the break before strike partner Sergio Aguero scored a clever  fourth and Younes Kaboul pulled one back.

Spurs, beaten to a Champions League spot by the visitors  last term, had decent chances but the gulf in class was clear.

Chelsea target Luka Modric was booed by his own Spurs fans  after his transfer request and their mood darkened further when  Dzeko bent in his brilliant fourth in injury time.

In the other matches yesterday, striker Leon Best scored twice  in Newcastle United’s 2-1 home win over Fulham and Stoke City’s  Ryan Shotton struck late in a 1-0 victory at West Bromwich  Albion.

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