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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

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Easy does it: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney scores his third goal of the match in the 82nd minute of the Red Devils' 8-2 thrashing of Arsenal on Sunday at Old Trafford. AP PHOTO

Rooney hits hat trick as United rolls over hapless Arsenal


MANCHESTER, England — Wayne Rooney scored a hat trick as champion Manchester United humiliated Arsenal with an 8-2 win in the Premier League on Sunday, the London side's heaviest loss under Arsene Wenger.

Having seen cross-city rival Manchester City thrash Tottenham 5-1 earlier in the day, United responded in style with Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Nani and Park Ji Sung joining Rooney on the scoresheet.

Rooney converted two free-kicks and a penalty, while Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie replied for a makeshift Arsenal side.

Van Persie had a penalty saved in the first half when Arsenal was trailing 1-0.

United sits top of the Premier League with a 100 percent record, ahead of City on goal difference, while Arsenal has only one point and has had a player sent off in each of its three games after Carl Jenkinson was dismissed for two yellow cards against United.

The pressure on Arsenal and manager Wenger had eased slightly after the midweek win over Udinese ensured the London club would be playing in the Champions League group stage this season, but the gulf in class against United served to illustrate that Arsenal's problems persist.

"You feel humiliated when you concede eight goals," Wenger said. "It was a terrible day for us."

Arsenal has just one point after three games, with a player ejected in each match. This time, defender Carl Jenkinson was dismissed against the league leaders.

"The performance today was incredible and we deserved the result," Rooney said.

"Whether or not Arsenal have a full-strength squad, every time we play them we have a go and try to score. They had some players out but that should take nothing away from us."

United tops the standings on goal difference ahead of City. The Red Devils are the only teams to have opened the season with three successive wins. Tottenham is stranded at the bottom after being ripped apart by City.

"Today was something special for me, to score four goals in the Premier League is fantastic," Dzeko said. "I think we're getting better and better."

Also Sunday, Leon Best scored twice in the second half in a 2-1 victory for Newcastle over Fulham.

American midfielder Clint Dempsey scored in the 88th minute for the Cottagers, his first Premier League goal of the season and third overall. Ryan Shotton's late goal gave Stoke a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

Redknapp ticked off


LONDON — Less than six months after captivating Europe with dazzling Champions League displays, Tottenham is rock bottom of the Premier League and veteran manager Harry Redknapp is frustrated with life at White Hart Lane.

"I feel we've had a terrible preseason, there's been a feeling around the place," Redknapp said after Sunday's 5-1 mauling by Manchester City.

"Its not been right. People going, people wanting to go."

None more so than Luka Modric, the fulcrum of Tottenham's attack who is pushing for a move to Chelsea.

Less than two hours before Sunday's match, Redknapp had to force Modric to play after fresh reports of Chelsea's pursuit of the Croatia playmaker before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

"He told me he didn't feel his head was right," Redknapp said.

"I told him he needed to play. I had injuries in midfield, he's our main man."

Even Britain's top-ranked tennis player, Andy Murray, expressed incredulity that Modric was trying to get out of playing for the team he is contracted to.

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