The Premier League games on New Year’s Day produced a host of goals as usual.
Manchester United remained seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table, after winning 4-0 at Wigan. Javier Hernandez fired the visitors in front in the 35th minute from inside the penalty box, after Ali Al Habsi had saved Patrice Evra’s low effort.
United doubled their lead in the 43rd minute, Robin Van Persie turning Ivan Ramis before curling the ball into the top corner.
Javier Hernandez scored his brace in the 63rd minute, pouncing on a Robin Van Persie free-kick to fire home inside the penalty area.
Van Persie made it four in the 88th minute, when he was left completely unmarked in the penalty box. The victory kept United well clear of arch-rivals and champions Manchester City, who defeated Stoke 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
City took the lead in the 43rd minute. James Milner’s cross found full-back Pablo Zabaleta who fired past Asmir Begovic in the Potters goal. Edin Dzeko doubled City’s lead in the 56th minute, scoring after Asmir Begovic had attempted to keep out Sergio Aguero’s effort.
City made it three in the 74th minute. Steven N’Zonzi brought David Silva down in the penalty area and Sergio Aguero made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Tottenham moved into third place in the league, beating Reading 3-1 at White Hart Lane. The Royals took the lead in the fourth minute, as striker Pavel Pogrebnyak headed home after Ian Harte’s free-kick has struck the crossbar.
Spurs centre-back Michael Dawson headed home the equaliser from close-range in the 9th minute from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner kick. The home side took the lead just after half-time, Emmanuel Adebayor scoring with a towering header from Aaron Lennon’s cross.
The points were confirmed in the 79th minute, as a powerful Clint Dempsey effort looped in via a heavy deflection off Mikele Leigertwood. The victory took Spurs above Chelsea in the table.
Tottenham’s North London rivals Arsenal opened the year with a 1-1 draw at Southampton. The game struggled to get going until the 34th minute, when the home side opened the scoring. Uruguayan winger Gaston Ramirez poking home, after poor defending by Gunners full-back Bacary Sagna.
The visitors were back on level terms in the 41st minute. Theo Walcott’s cross was put past his own keeper by Guly Do Prado. Both teams had chances to win the game, but neither could find a winner. The draw moves the Saints out of the relegation zone, the Gunners stay in fifth.
Elsewhere, Swansea and Aston Villa drew 2-2 at the Liberty Stadium. The home side took an early lead, as Wayne Routledge latched onto Pablo Hernandez’s through-ball, rounded Brad Guzan and fired home.
Villa equalised just before half-time. Christian Benteke played a superb through-ball through the Swans defence to Andreas Weimann, who slotted past Michel Vorm. Villa regained the lead in the 84th minute.
Weimann was pulled down in the penalty area by Nathan Dyer and Benteke scored with the resulting spot-kick. Just as it looked like Villa were set to claim all three points, Danny Graham grabbed a 94th minute equaliser for the hosts.
Norwich suffered their fourth straight defeat, as West Ham defeated the Canaries 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground. The Irons were a goal up within three minutes. Norwich defender Ryan Bennett held Ricardo Vaz Te in the area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Hammers midfielder Mark Noble scored from the resulting free-kick. Full-back Joey O’Brien side-footed past Mark Bunn, after Sebastien Bassong had attempted to clear Mark Noble’s cross.
Canaries defender Russell Martin scored a consolation goal in injury-time, but the visitors couldn’t find an equaliser. West Ham moved above Norwich in the Premier League table.
Fulham claimed a 2-1 win at West Brom to end a run of four games without a win. Fulham took the lead in the 39th minute, Dimitar Berbatov sweeping an effort past Ben Foster from an Ashkan Dejagah pass.
The Baggies were back on level terms in the 49th minute. On-loan striker Romelu Lukaku firing home from Billy Jones’ low cross. The winner arrived in the 58th minute, Alex Kacaniklic firing home a superb effort from the edge of the penalty area.
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