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United hammer West Brom to set new record

  • Story Highlights
  • Manchester United defeat West Bromwich Albion 5-0 to go three clear at top
  • United also break Chelsea's record of 11 Premier League clean sheets in row
  • Aston Villa continue their fine season by defeating Portsmouth 1-0 to go third
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(CNN) -- Manchester United pulled three points clear at the top of the Premier League courtesy of a 5-0 thrashing of bottom club West Bromwich Albion, breaking Chelsea's record by claiming an 11th consecutive clean sheet in the process.

United players celebrate Dimitar Berbatov's opening goal in the 5-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion.

United players celebrate Dimitar Berbatov's opening goal in the 5-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion.

The visitors went ahead after 21 minutes when Michael Carrick timed a perfect return pass to Dimitar Berbatov and the Bulgarian fired low past goalkeeper Scott Carson from just inside the area.

West Brom were reduced to 10 men after 40 minutes when captain Paul Robinson was sent off for a reckless challenge on Park Ji-Sung.

The hosts' night lurched from bad to worse a minute before the interval when Carson spilled Ryan Giggs' inswinging free-kick inside the six-yard box and Carlos Tevez pounced to put United two goals clear.

Nemanja Vidic ended any outside hopes Albion may have had of mounting a late fightback when he nodded home United's third after an hour, while Cristiano Ronaldo completed the rout with a quickfire double strike.

"We showed a real ruthless streak tonight," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. "Goal difference could play a part so it's a satisfying result from that aspect."

Aston Villa maintained their remarkable season as they beat Portsmouth 1-0 to move up to third place in the table, behind Liverpool on goal difference.

Emile Heskey marked his Villa debut with the only goal in the 21st minute, firing past David James after Gabriel Agbonlahor had flicked the ball into his path.

Portsmouth ended the game with 10 men after Nadir Belhadj receieved a second yellow card for handball in the 71st minute and Villa comfortably sae out the match to secure their ninth away victory of the season.

Meanwhile, Tottenham recorded their first league victory in more than a month by defeating Stoke 3-1 with a burst of first-half goals at White Hart Lane.

Aaron Lennon opened the scoring in the eighth minute when he raced in from the right and buried his shot through goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen's legs.

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The home side doubled their lead in the 21st minute with a fine move involving Didier Zokora, Luka Modric and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

The Russian striker played in Jermain Defoe and the England international smashed his shot home at the near post -- his third goal in four games since returning to the club from Portsmouth.

Four minutes later, Spurs went 3-0 ahead when Michael Dawson headed home a Modric left-wing cross. Stoke pulled a goal back in the 57th minute through James Beattie, who fired home a Matthew Etherington cross on the half-volley.

Elsewhere, Kenwyne Jones celebrated his new contract with the only goal as Sunderland ended a run of four league games without a win as they beat Fulham 1-0.

The Trinidad and Tobago international, who signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract earlier on Tuesday, pounced on a loose ball, after Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had saved Djibril Cisse's 55th-minute shot, to edge a tight encounter.

Schwarzer had earlier denied both men and later pulled off a fine reaction stop to keep out Steed Malbranque's 63rd-minute effort, but his heroics could not prevent the Londoners from slipping to a second successive league defeat after a sequence of nine without loss.

The win eased Sunderland further away from the drop zone and set them up perfectly for Sunday's derby trip to fellow-strugglers Newcastle.

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