Wednesday 02 January 2013
Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie both scored twice as Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United beat Wigan Athletic 4-0 to begin the year in fine style.
Hernandez also had a strike disallowed, which came prior to him making the breakthrough after 35 minutes at the DW Stadium. Van Persie doubled United's lead in the 43rd minute and it was the Dutchman's free-kick that ballooned up to present Hernandez with his chance to net again in the 63rd minute. The Mexican striker's volley ended Wigan's hopes of any reward and Van Persie fired a late fourth as United passed the 50-point mark, taking their haul to 52 from 21 games this season.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side continue to head nearest rivals Manchester City by seven points as they attempt to claw back the league title from their neighbours. Full-back Pablo Zabaleta inched City towards a 3-0 win against Stoke City when he scored in the 43rd minute at the Etihad Stadium. Edin Dzeko doubled the lead after 56 minutes when Sergio Aguero saw a shot pushed out, and Aguero fired a 74th-minute penalty to complete the scoring after Steven Nzonzi fouled David Silva.
Tottenham Hotspur climbed to third place, a point ahead of Chelsea who have two games in hand, after a 3-1 home win over second-bottom side Reading. Andre Villas-Boas saw his side fall behind to a Pavel Pogrebnyak effort in the fourth minute, but Michael Dawson headed the hosts level in the ninth minute and Emmanuel Adebayor edged them ahead six minutes into the second half. Clint Dempsey made the points safe, with his shot benefiting from a deflection as it beat Adam Federici for the third Tottenham goal in the 79th minute.
Danny Graham cracked home a late equaliser for Swansea City against Aston Villa to earn a 2-2 draw. Villa had fallen behind to Wayne Routledge's ninth-minute finish, after he surged clear of a static defence to round goalkeeper Brad Guzan. But the outlook improved for Paul Lambert's side just before the break when Andreas Weimann netted an equaliser in the 44th minute. Christian Benteke's penalty after Nathan Dyer's foul on Weimann put Villa ahead, as they looked to banish memories of dismal recent results. But Graham had the final say, his powerful finish with time running out sparking delight among home supporters at the Liberty Stadium.
A third-minute penalty from Mark Noble and Joey O'Brien's strike in the 26th minute gave West Ham United a 2-0 cushion against Norwich City at Upton Park. Russell Martin pulled one back for Norwich late in the second half but Chris Hughton’s side could not find a leveller.
Earlier, Fulham eased their relegation worries as Alexander Kacaniklic's second-half goal earned them a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion. Fulham had slid towards the bottom three after winning only one of their previous 12 games but were well worth their second away success of the campaign. Dimitar Berbatov's seventh goal of the season gave the Cottagers a half-time lead and although Romelu Lukaku levelled after the break, Kacaniklic restored the visitors' advantage in the 58th minute.
In the day's late match, Arsenal's hopes of returning to the top four were hit when they were held 1-1 by Southampton. Gaston Ramirez put Southampton ahead but an own goal from Guly Do Prado levelled the scores just before half-time.
There are three matches on Thursday. Chelsea can regain third place if they beat Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool host Sunderland and Everton travel to Newcastle United.
Premierleague.com brings you all the coverage with our Matchday Live pages. Follow the matches with our details, stats and the best photos and read our reports after the final whistles with manager reactions shortly afterwards.
3pm unless stated
FT West Brom 1-2 Fulham | #WBAFUL | Matchday Live >>
FT Swansea 2-2 Aston Villa | #SWAAVL | Matchday Live >>
FT Tottenham 3-1 Reading | #TOTRDG | Matchday Live >>
FT West Ham 2-1 Norwich City | #WHUNOR | Matchday Live >>
FT Wigan Athletic 0-4 Manchester United | #WIGMUN | Matchday Live >>
FT Southampton 1-1 Arsenal | #SOUARS | Matchday Live >>
Wednesday 2 January
Harry Redknapp (QPR) on his confidence his team can still avoid the drop, on Rafael Benitez and Chelsea and the transfer window.
Chelsea and QPR team news.
7.45pm Liverpool v Sunderland | #LIVSUN | Matchday Live >>
Liverpool & Sunderland team news.
Newcastle (NEW) manager Alan Pardew on On the return of Williamson but the injury to Danny Simpson, the prospect of Cabaye and Taylor coming back, the speculation over Demba Ba, Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy and on facing Everton.
Everton (EVE) manager David Moyes on Darron Gibson’s injury, Seamus Coleman’s development, how Marouane Fellaini’s return will affect his selection, on Everton’s form during the calendar year, his highlight of 2012 and how the Europa League can have an impact on form.
Newcastle & Everton team news.