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PREMIER LEAGUE: Man Utd back on top as Rooney hits hat-trick at Bolton

Wayne Rooney helped Manchester United power back to the top of the Premier League by scoring a hat-trick in their 5-0 hammering of Bolton. Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils were irrepressible at the Reebok Stadium to make it 13 goals in their past two matches which has come courtesy of two Rooney trebles whilst Javier Hernandez chipped in with a brace for the winners today.

Hernandez returned to the starting line-up and provided an immediate impact when he turned in Nani's perfect cross from the front post with his brilliant predatory skills in just the fifth minute.

15 minutes later and it was 2-0 to United when Rooney got on the end of Phil Jones' pinpoint cross from the right to beat Zat Knight to the ball and toe-poke home from close range before he quickly made it 3-0 in the 25th minute with a simple tap-in for a player of his quality after Jones' barnstorming run ended in the ball falling for him.

Hernandez helped himself to his second just before the hour-mark with an easy finish after Michael Carrick's drive deflected off the Bolton defence and into his path and then Rooney grabbed his third in the 68th minute with a brilliant strike from the top of the 'D'.

Substitute Ryan Giggs played a inch-perfect long ball to the right for Nani who cut it back and Rooney hammered it low past Jussi Jaasekelainen to complete the rout.

Jaaseklainen was often tested throughout the match and produced an unconvincing punch from Nani's free-kick from the left in the 51st minute, moments before he made a brilliant save from Anderson's free-kick from the right which was curling toward the top corner.

The Finn was helped out by Nigel Reo-Coker when he came out to meet opposing gloveman David de Gea's dangerous long ball which ended at the feet of Hernandez but the Mexican could not get his attempt past the Trotters midfielder who had tracked back well.

De Gea had a top-quality save to make himself in the 19th minute when Ivan Klasnic forced the best out of him with a well-struck shot and the Spaniard was beaten on the hour-mark when Reo-Coker's shot could not quite get under the crossbar despite him being under extreme duress from Patrice Evra.

However, it was a near flawless performance by the reigning champions who replaced crosstown rivals Manchester City at the summit of the table with a superior goal difference as they scored their 18th goal in just the fourth match of the season.

TRIBAL ASKS: Is Rooney the most in-form player in the world at the moment?

Bolton Wanderers: 0 Manchester United: 5 (Javier Hernandez 5'/58', Wayne Rooney 20'/25'/68') Reebok Stadium, Bolton

Yellow cards:BOL - Kevin Davies 13', Mark Davies 20' MANU - nil

Match facts: Man Utd have now won 12 of last 14 against Bolton.

Dedryck Boyata started to make his Bolton debut on loan from Man City whilst David Ngog came off the bench for his Trotters bow.

Wayne Rooney scored his 7th United hat-trick to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's tally. The treble allowed him to move to 8 goals this season - two clear of City's Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero on the Golden Boot chart.

 It's the home stretch! 24/7 click for the best coverage of Manchester United's final transfer market moves

 It's the home stretch! 24/7 click for the best coverage of Bolton Wanderers' final transfer market moves.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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