LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in two minutes today to send Manchester United three points clear of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League after a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.
With unbeaten Arsenal playing at Reading tomorrow the champions were in rampant form at Old Trafford with Ronaldo heading home in the 34th minute and doubling his tally with a right-footed shot in the 36th.
Blackburn, managed by former United regular Mark Hughes, had David Dunn sent off for a second yellow card in the 53rd minute.
The first league fixture of Alex Ferguson's 22nd year as manager left United alone on 30 points from 13 matches to Arsenal's 27 from 11.
Chelsea moved up to third place on 25 points after a 1-1 draw at home to Everton, although Manchester City can reclaim that position after their later starting match at Portsmouth.
Chelsea had all three points in the bag until a brilliant overhead kick by Tim Cahill in the 89th minute left goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, standing in for the injured Petr Cech, with no chance.
Didier Drogba had put Chelsea in front in the 70th minute when he nodded in at the near post off a corner by Ivory Coast compatriot and substitute Salomon Kalou.
''It's frustrating, especially as we played very well and created a lot of chances. They had one chance and they scored,'' said Chelsea manager Avram Grant.
''I'm happy with the football we played but not with the result.
''We have too many injuries. One month ago we were playing with a completely different back four and goalkeeper,'' added the Israeli.
Liverpool, who beat Fulham 2-0 in one of just three matches played yesterday slipped back to fifth place.
Tottenham Hotspur were today's high scorers, thrashing Wigan Athletic 4-0 at White Hart Lane with Jermaine Jenas netting twice.
In the day's early match, Gabriel Agbonlahor cleared off the line and then scored a late winner two minutes later to give Aston Villa a 2-1 victory in the West Midlands derby at Birmingham City.
REUTERS SBC HT2318