English Premiership

Easy wins for United, City

2013-01-01 21:43
Robin van Persie (File)

London - Manchester United kept a firm grip on the Premier League title race by sweeping to a 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic on the first day of 2013 to maintain their seven-point lead.

Champions Manchester City remain United's nearest rivals after a 3-0 success at home to Stoke City, while Tottenham Hotspur climbed to third by coming from behind to defeat second-bottom Reading 3-1 at White Hart Lane.

Javier Hernandez had already had a goal ruled out for offside at the DW Stadium when he put United 1-0 up against Wigan by tapping in after Ali Al Habsi saved from Patrice Evra in the 35th minute.

Robin van Persie got off the mark for the New Year eight minutes later, collecting a pass from Hernandez and sending Ivan Ramis to the turf with a dummy before curling the ball inside the right-hand post.

Hernandez added a third in the 63rd minute, swivelling to dispatch a half-volley when a van Persie free-kick arrived at his feet, before the Dutchman completed a brace of his own in the 88th minute with his 16th league goal.

"Javier Hernandez is a goal-scorer, a real penalty-box player," said United manager Alex Ferguson, who turned 71 on New Year's Eve.

"Van Persie's first goal was magnificent. We expected him to be a major player and add something to us, and that's exactly what he's done."

City dominated the early stages at home to Stoke, who had gone into the game looking to protect a 10-match unbeaten run.

Pablo Zabeleta broke the deadlock two minutes before half-time, rolling the ball into an empty net after visiting goalkeeper Asmir Begovic touched away James Milner's low cross with his foot.

Sergio Aguero was the creator of City's second in the 56th minute, with a low drive that was parried by Begovic, only for Edin Dzeko to turn the loose ball home.

Aguero scored a 74th-minute penalty after Steven Nzonzi was adjudged to have tripped David Silva, but the Argentine had to leave the fray moments later after appearing to sustain a hamstring injury.

City assistant coach David Platt said that Aguero would "certainly" miss Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie with Watford and was "doubtful" for the following weekend's trip to Arsenal in the league.

Tottenham fell behind in the fourth minute against Reading when Pavel Pogrebnyak headed the visitors in front, but Michael Dawson's header meant the hosts were level within five minutes.

Spurs were dominant from then on, Emmanuel Adebayor putting them in front with a powerful 51st-minute header before Clint Dempsey's fortuitous deflected strike made it 3-1.

Victory took Spurs a point clear of Chelsea, who have two games in hand and host bottom club Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday.

Aston Villa put an end to a run of three straight defeats, in which they had conceded 15 goals, by drawing 2-2 at Swansea City, who equalised through Danny Graham in injury time.

Christian Benteke had put Villa ahead with an 84th-minute penalty, after Wayne Routledge's ninth-minute opener for the hosts had been cancelled out by Andreas Weimann.

West Ham United were also on the up, beating Norwich City 2-1 through goals from Mark Noble and Joey O'Brien to climb to 11th.

Earlier, Fulham shook off their slumbers from 2012 to win 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion and record only their second win in 13 matches.

Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov had the honour of scoring the first goal of 2013 at the Hawthorns, with Alex Kacaniklic netting a 58th-minute winner after Romelu Lukaku equalised early in the second half.

Fifth-place Arsenal, 7-3 victors against Newcastle United on Saturday, could only manage a 1-1 draw at Southampton in the late kick-off.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Maritzburg floor Ajax

2014-04-18 20:41

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
19 April 2014
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham, White Hart Lane 13:45
West Ham United v Crystal Palace, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Cardiff City v Stoke City, Cardiff City Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Swansea City, St. James' Park 16:00
Aston Villa v Southampton, Villa Park 16:00
Chelsea v Sunderland, Stamford Bridge 18:30
20 April 2014
Norwich City v Liverpool, Carrow Road 13:00
Hull City v Arsenal, The KC Stadium 15:05
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 17:10
21 April 2014
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.