United and City start 2013 with victories, Spurs climb to third

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.

Wigan 0-4 Man Utd

Two goals apiece from strikers Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez gave Manchester United a routine 4-0 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium on Tuesday that maintained the visitors' seven-point lead in the English Premier League.

Hernandez opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a strike from close range before van Persie doubled the advantage eight minutes later.

Hernandez added his second in the 63rd and Van Persie matched the Mexico international in the 88th when he closed out the scoring.

Alex Ferguson believes that the league leaders bought the Dutch forward at the best stage of his playing days.

"Robin is a completely rounded footballer," said Ferguson. "He has great international experience, he played for Arsenal for seven years and he came to us at the very peak of his career."

"His ability to make and take goals is fantastic. His play for his first goal was absolutely magnificent, his turn, his balance, no drawback, just side footed it in. It was a really good goal."

Van Persie leads the Premier League scoring charts with 16 goals in 21 games.

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Man City 3-0 Stoke

Manchester City started 2013 in perfect fashion as they strolled past Stoke City with a comfortable 3-0 victory on Tuesday.

The visitors were able to frustrate their hosts for the majority of the first half at Etihad Stadium but needed a little bit of luck to stay level.

That good fortunate ran out in the 43rd minute when Pablo Zabaleta opened the scoring after Asmir Begovic cleared a low cross into his path.

Edin Dzeko doubled the home side's lead at the start of the second half with a simple tap-in after Begovic had failed to deal with Sergio Aguero's low shot.

The win was secured in the 74th minute when Aguero fired home a controversial penalty after David Silva was deemed to have been tripped inside the area by Steven N'Zonzi.

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Tottenham 3-1 Reading

Michael Dawson, Emmanuel Adebayor and Clint Dempsey all scored landmark goals as Tottenham Hotspur overcame Reading yesterday at White Hart Lane.

Pavel Pogrebnyak headed the Royals into a shock lead on four minutes, however Dawson nodded home from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner kick three minutes later to level the scores with his first goal at White Hart Lane in four years.

Spurs created numerous chances in the second half and converted two of them. Adebayor scored his first home goal of the season with a thumping header following a deep cross from Aaron Lennon shortly after the restart.

Dempsey then sealed the win with a deflected long-range effort, which marked his first home goal since joining Spurs from London rivals Fulham.


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