Arsenal, United win to close in on Chelsea lead


London : Arsenal won 4-1 at Portsmouth and Manchester United beat Wigan Athletic 5-0 to close in on Chelsea at the top of the Premiership table.

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After Wednesday’s win, Arsenal are four points behind the leaders with a game in hand after a stroll against Portsmouth, who are reportedly facing a winding-up order and remain four points adrift at the bottom.

“It was a very competitive game,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “We were a bit lucky on the first goal, but the team looked really like a team who was ready for it.

“Everybody tells us to buy strikers, but we score goals, so somewhere we have balance. Our movement and our team play creates things for us.”

Abou Diaby had already been denied by a fine reflex block from Pompey keeper Asmir Begovic when Arsenal went ahead after 28 minutes.

The goal was fortuitous, Eduardo’s free-kick deflecting in off Younes Kaboul – with Hermann Hreidarsson oddly static on the line – but Portsmouth could hardly say it was undeserved on the balance of play.

Samir Nasri added a second – his first since March – three minutes before half-time after Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey had created space in the box.

It was Ramsey who scored the third – Arsenal’s 50th of the Premier League season – cutting in onto his left foot and driving past Begovic from 20 yards.

With 17 minutes remaining Nadir Belhadj pulled one back with a deflected shot after a one-two with Anthony Vanden Borre.

Any thought of a fightback was extinguished eight minutes later as Alex Song headed in Nasri’s cross.

“We played well, we passed the ball, and we created a lot of opportunities,” said Ramsey.

“Our confidence is very high at the moment. We go into every game thinking we can win. We’ll see where that takes us come the end of the season.”

United had it just as easy at home to Wigan. Wayne Rooney put them ahead after 28 minutes, Luis Valencia teeing up Rafael to cross low for the forward.

Dimitar Berbatov laid on a second three minutes later, cutting the ball back for Michael Carrick to score.

Rafael made it three on the stroke of half-time, creating space for himself in the box after being picked out by Darren Fletcher’s pass.

Berbatov made it four on 50 minutes, capitalizing after Hendry Thomas had stumbled over Valencia’s cross.

Rooney headed against the bar, but the fifth arrived with quarter of an hour remaining, Rooney finding Valencia, who looped the ball over Mike Pollitt.