- Published on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 01:10
LONDON: Manchester United and Manchester City both started the New Year with convincing wins on Tuesday, while Tottenham went third after coming behind against Reading,reported Sky Sports.
Beleaguered Aston Villa were pegged to a last-gasp draw at Swansea, while West Ham inflicted another defeat on Norwich and Fulham put an end to their winless run with success at West Brom.
United started the New Year on a high note as they thumped Wigan 4-0 at DW Stadium to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the table, with Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie both scoring doubles for the leaders.
United racked the hosts' defence in the 35th minute thanks to Hernandez, who pounced in the box to tuck the ball into the net from close range after Patrice Evra saw his low shot parried by Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
Robin van Persie then added his 15th league goal of the season when he collected the ball in the area, turned away from Wigan defender Ivan Ramis and curled a fine right-footed strike into the top right-hand corner.
Hernandez contributed his second of the afternoon just after the hour mark when van Persie's deflected freekick fell to him just inside the box and the Mexican blasted home with another tidy finish.
And the Dutchman completed the commanding win in the 88th minute, slipping in United's fourth with ease in front of goal after some dubious defending from the hosts.
City kept the heat on leaders United with a home victory over Stoke at Etihad Stadium, seeing off the Potters 3-0 to end their 10-game unbeaten streak.
The impressive Pablo Zabaleta broke the deadlock for City on the stroke of half-time as he paired up with James Milner, side-footing the midfielder's pull-back past Asmir Begovic from yards out.
Some poor goalkeeping from Begovic then allowed Edin Dzeko to score his third goal in two games as the shot-stopper's weak clearance of Sergio Aguero's shot fell to the Bosnian, who poked the ball into the net with ease.
Aguero went from provider to scorer in the late stages as City were awarded a penalty after David Silva was brought down by Steven N'Zonzi, with the striker rolling home from the spot to evade Begovic's low dive.
Tottenham climbed into third place above Chelsea, who play on Wednesday, as they came from behind to beat struggling Reading 3-1, leaving the Royals still stranded in the relegation zone.
The visitors took the early advantage against Spurs at White Hart Lane as Pavel Pogrebynak reacted fastest to nod home Ian Harte's rebounded freekick just four minutes in after the defender's delivery had struck the crossbar.
But Spurs wasted little time getting back on level standings as Michael Dawson headed his first goal at the Lane for four years, latching onto Gylfi Sigurdsson's well-taken corner from point-blank range.
Spurs then went ahead soon after half-time when Aaron Lennon shrugged off Harte with some good work down the right wing before floating in a pinpoint cross for Emmanuel Adebayor, who directed it just inside the left post with a towering header.
Clint Dempsey wrapped up Spurs' win with his first home league goal for the club, giving goalkeeper Adam Federici little chance as his powerful strike took a massive deflection off Mike Leigertwood to loop into the net.
Struggling Aston Villa were denied a much-needed win at the death as they were pegged to a 2-2 draw at Swansea.
The Swans took an early lead over at Liberty Stadium as Pablo Hernandez slotted through Wayne Routledge and the midfielder rounded goalkeeper Brad Guzan to slide home the ball into an empty net.
But despite the Welsh side dominating the opening half, Villa surprised them on the break not long before half-time as Ashley Williams failed to deal with Christian Benteke's through-ball and Andreas Weimann finished off the move by slotting past Michel Vorm into the top corner.
Weimann then earned a late penalty when he was hauled down by Nathan Dyer and Christian Benteke slipped the spot-kick beyond Vorm to put the Midlanders on course for the win.
However, the hosts had the last word as Danny Graham snatched a stoppage-time equalizer to hand the Swans a share of the spoils.
West Ham condemned Norwich to a fourth straight defeat as they triumphed 2-1 over the Canaries at Upton Park, with an early penalty setting them on course for the win.
Sam Allardyce's side needed just three minutes to take the lead when Ryan Bennett was adjudged to have held Ricardo Vaz Te, with Mark Noble making no mistake from the penalty spot as he sent Mark Bunn the wrong way.
Noble was also involved as the Hammers doubled their advantage in the 26th minute, firing in a low cross which was initially stabbed away by Sebastien Bassong before Joey O'Brien side-footed home the rebound at the near post.
Russell Martin netted in stoppage time for the visitors but it was no more than a consolation strike as they slipped below the Hammers in the table.