All the attention was on Wayne Rooney,
who scored his 100th goal in the English Premier League, but the
England star shared the accolades in Manchester United's emphatic 3-1 win at Arsenal with Portuguese Nani
, who had a hand in the first two goals four
minutes apart late in the first half.
United manager Alex Ferguson
called Rooney, who had all four goals against Hull City a week earlier,
"He was the key player for us," said Ferguson, "and they could just could not handle him. He was a
really great player today."
Nani wasn't too bad, either.
On the first goal, the 23-year-old winger lobbed Manuel Almunia
from a sharp angle after beating Arsenal players Gael Clichy
and Samir Nasir
, and all the Gunners keeper could do was
palm the ball into his goal.
Nani fed Rooney for the second goal that completed a devastating counterattack that started when Park Ji-Sung
the ball in the United penalty area and fed Rooney outside the United box.
"That was my best game," said Nani. "I played well, scoring and getting an assist. I can feel
the confidence of my teammates, the fans and the manager."
Park put the game away with the third goal in the 52nd minute.
Rooney and Nani both had chances to add to
United's lead before Belgian Thomas Vermaelen
scored a late goal for Arsenal.
"That was a great performance by us," said
Ferguson. "We played really well. This is the time of the season we really need to kick on -- and it was an impressive result. We were sharp and incisive and
could have scored more. But we are still behind Chelsea and I hope that Arsenal go there and batter them next Sunday!"
Chelsea leads United by a point and Arsenal by five points
and has a game in hand on both teams. The Blues face Hull City Tuesday before hosting Arsenal.
"We delivered a completely off-the-mark performance and that's why we were
well beaten," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
said. "We gave them too much room, we were naive and that's why we have to stick together and produce
a much better performance next Sunday when we go to Chelsea."