Two Wayne Rooney headers led Manchester United to a 3-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford on Tuesday, taking the champions within a point of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
Striker Rooney, who also scored two headers when his side beat AC Milan in the Champions League last week, took his tally for the season to 27 -- with 19 of those goals coming in his last 19 matches.
Substitute Michael Owen added the third in the 80th minute, two minutes after replacing goal machine Rooney who executed both headers with real power from crosses by Antonio Valencia after 38 and 55 minutes.
Manchester United are second with 60 points from 28 matches, one behind leaders Chelsea who have a game in hand.
The only blemish for United was revealed when manager Alex Ferguson said afterwards that defender Rio Ferdinand, who missed the game with a twinge in his back, was also out of Sunday’s League Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley.
The centre back is also now a doubt for England’s friendly against Egypt at the same stadium three days later.
“He felt a twinge in his back this morning... and we couldn’t risk it,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. “He won’t be playing on Sunday.”