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Premier League round-up

Man Utd and Man City both started the New Year with convincing wins, while Tottenham went third after coming from behind against Reading.

Last Updated: 01/01/13 at 19:22

Javier Hernandez: Scored a double as United started 2013 with a win at Wigan

Javier Hernandez: Scored a double as United started 2013 with a win at Wigan

Manchester clubs on top; Arsenal draw at Southampton

Manchester United and Manchester City both started 2013 with convincing wins, while Tottenham went third after coming from behind against Reading.

It was not such a happy New Year for Arsenal, who could only manage a draw at Southampton.

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.

Manchester United started the New Year on a high note as they thumped Wigan 4-0 at the DW Stadium to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the table, with Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie both netting doubles for the leaders.

The Red Devils cracked 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 Latics goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Double

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 free-kick 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.

Manchester City kept the heat on leaders United with a home victory over Stoke at the 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 from 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 at White Hart Lane as Pavel Pogrebynak reacted fastest to nod home Ian Harte's rebounded free-kick just four minutes in after the defender's delivery had struck the crossbar.

But the home side wasted little time getting back on level standings as Michael Dawson headed his first goal at the Lane for four years, meeting Gylfi Sigurdsson's well-taken corner from point-blank range.

Andre Villas-Boas' men 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.

Arsenal started 2013 by seeing their run of four straight wins brought to an end after they could only manage a 1-1 draw at Southampton.

The lacklustre affair saw the struggling Saints take the lead in the 34th minute when Gaston Ramirez made the most of some woeful defending from Bacary Sagna to poke home.

But the scores were level seven minutes later when Guly put through his own net in an attempt to clear Theo Walcott's cross, stabbing past goalkeeper Artur Boruc in front of goal.

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 at the 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 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 equaliser to hand the Swans a share of the spoils.

Penalty

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 on 26 minutes, 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.

Fulham recorded a first Premier League success at The Hawthorns as they beat West Brom 2-1 in the lunch-time kick-off to end a four-match winless streak, while condemning the Baggies to back-to-back defeats.

Alex Kacaniklic netted the winner for the Cottagers just before the hour mark, controlling Bryan Ruiz's pass on the edge of the box before driving a low shot past Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Dimitar Berbatov had earlier put Martin Jol's men in the lead when he released Ashkan Dejagah down the right before collecting his pass to sweep home from inside the area, but Romelu Lukaku levelled things up just after the restart, turning home Billy Jones' low ball.

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Readers' Comments

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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