Manchester United endures without Wayne Rooney

Cheers and Jeers,Sports,Craig Stouffer

Manchester United will endure the busiest stretch of the season without Wayne Rooney, who will miss the next few weeks with a knee injury. But the Red Devils still could put a seemingly insurmountable amount of space between themselves and their closest contenders for the English Premier League title by the start of the next normal work week.

United (15-3-1, 46 points) came from behind three times before Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez delivered a 90th-minute game winner in a wild 4-3 triumph over Newcastle during the EPL's annual Boxing Day set of matches. The result was all the more important as second-place Manchester City was upset 1-0 at Sunderland.

Only last weekend, Manchester City had gained ground with a 1-0 victory at Reading, while United dropped points with a 1-1 tie at Swansea City.

But if another set of results end like Wednesday's -- in favor of Manchester United -- it could begin the second half of the season with a double-digit lead over last year's champions. Both teams have two games in the next five days: on Saturday and, as is tradition, New Year's Day.

- Craig Stouffer

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