London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Jonathan Evans, Darren Fletcher and Javier Hernandez scored three goals in nine minutes as Manchester United defeated cellar-dweller Queens Park Rangers, 3-1, to grab the Premier League top spot Saturday at Old Trafford.
The victory gave United 30 points, two points clear of rival and defending champion Manchester City and four points ahead of West Brom. Manchester City has a chance to grab the lead anew when it takes on Chelsea Sunday.
The loss, for its part, has further condemned Queens Park Rangers to the worst Premier League start any side has made after 13 games.
The Rangers drew first blood when Jamie Mackie scored in the 52nd minute with incoming manager Harry Redknapp watching from the stands and looked headed for their first win of the season.
However, Evans buried a goal in the 64th minute to tie the count before Fletcher scored in the 68th minute in his first Premier League start in a year. Hernandez capped United’s scoring blast with a goal in the 71st minute to complete the romp.
Seeing enough of United’s three-goal assault, Redknapp left four minutes before the end of the game.
“Of course it is frustrating to keep conceding first and you have to be concerned about it. The one thing about it is their goal sparked us off. From that moment on, we really got at them and played with great determination and speed and it made a difference,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson was particularly happy for Fletcher, who clinched his first Premier League goal in 13 months after he spent battling chronic bowel complaint that threatened his career.
“Everyone is delighted for Fletcher. It has been a long road back for him. It is the first time he has played twice in one week. He didn’t let us down again. He never does. It is lovely to have him back like that. We will look at Wednesday but he has made a great contribution today,” Ferguson said.
For his part, QPR caretaker manager Mark Bowen told fans not to lose fate on the team.
“We showed good qualities. We possibly ran out of a bit of steam. They were two bad goals to concede from corners, but until then we showed good quality as a team,” Bowen said.
In other games, Wigan Athletic overcame Reading, 3-2; Everton and Norwich drew, 1-1; Stoke City edged Fulham, 1-0; and Aston Villa and Arsenal ended in a scoreless draw.