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United leads Premier League at Christmas, aims 2007 top
Latest Updated by 2006-12-25 09:38:19
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There's little time to enjoy Christmas as an English Premier League player or manager when there's a full round of games on Tuesday to prepare for.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (L) falls with Aston Villa's Craig Gardner (R) during their English Premier League soccer match in Birmingham, central England, December 23, 2006

Manchester United, which hosts Wigan, leads the standings with 47 points, knowing that every club with that tally after 19 games has gone on to win the title. The Red Devils beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Saturday to maintain a two-point lead over defending champion Chelsea at the halfway stage of the season.

"It was great to go into Christmas at the top of the table, certainly better than being second," Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar said.

Chelsea has 45 points, followed by Liverpool with 34, and Arsenal and Bolton on 33.

Wigan won't be a walkover for United - it took a last-minute winner from Arjen Robben for Chelsea to beat it 3-2 on Saturday.

United last won the league in the 2003, while it also topped the table at Christmas 2003 but went on to finish third behind Arsenal and Chelsea.

British bookmaker William Hill made Chelsea the 4-7 favorite on Sunday to win the league, with United second-favorite at 5-4, and Arsenal and Liverpool both 40-1.

Also Tuesday, it's: Tottenham vs. Aston Villa; Blackburn vs. Liverpool; Bolton vs. Newcastle; Everton vs. Middlesbrough; Sheffield United vs. Manchester City; West Ham vs. Portsmouth; and Watford vs. Arsenal. On Wednesday, Charlton hosts Fulham.

In a packed schedule while other European leagues are on a winter break, Premier League clubs also play on December 30 and either January 1 or 2.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China View website
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