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Van Persie helps United roll over Sunderland

Robin van Persie scored a goal and set up another as Manchester United remained six points clear at the top of the Premiership with a 3-1 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The win is United's fifth straight in the league, while Sunderland's troubles continued on Saturday with a third defeat in four games which leaves the Black Cats only one point above the drop zone.

United went on the attack from the start and took the lead after 16 minutes when Ashley Young got to the end line and pulled the ball back for Van Persie to finish from close range.

The lead was doubled only three minutes later when Tom Cleverley netted his first league goal of the campaign after exchanging passes with Michael Carrick, while Wayne Rooney should have added to the total when he failed to hit the target from 12 yards after Van Persie nodded the ball into his path.

Rooney did find the net in the second half when Van Persie once again did some good work to set him up as the Dutchman split two defenders and drove a low ball through the face of goal for Rooney to redirect past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Sunderland's only response came 18 minutes from time when former United striker Fraizer Campbell scored on a close-range header.

Manchester City 3, Newcastle 1

Newcastle, England - Manchester City bounced back from its derby defeat against Manchester United last week by claiming a 3-1 win over Newcastle at St. James' Park on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero's goal after 10 minutes put City in front with the Argentina international benefiting from Samir Nasri's pass to roll the ball into an empty net.

A corner kick shortly before halftime saw City go 2-0 up when David Silva's cross was headed home by Javi Garcia, leaving the Magpies with an uphill climb after the break.

But Newcastle responded well and pulled to within a goal in the 51st minute courtesy of Demba Ba's header, while Papiss Cisse came close to equalizing a few minutes later.

However, the hosts were doomed to their sixth defeat in seven games when Yaya Toure diverted a pass from Pablo Zabaleta between the legs of goalkeeper Tim Krul 12 minutes from time.

Aston Villa 3, Liverpool 1

Liverpool, England - Aston Villa collected three massive points at Anfield on Saturday as the Villains handed Liverpool a 3-1 defeat behind two goals from Christian Benteke.

Liverpool had won its previous two games to climb into the top half of the league and the hosts went on the attack early, only for Villa to take the lead against the run of play in the 29th minute.

Benteke took a pass from Brett Holman and lashed a shot past goalkeeper Pepe Reina, which struck the inside of the post and found the net.

Andreas Weimann made it 2-0 before halftime when he combined with Benteke to slot his shot past Reina, while the home side found itself down 3-0 to another Benteke goal before Steven Gerrard netted Liverpool's only goal three minutes from time.

Villa moves three points clear of the relegation places with the victory.

Norwich City 2, Wigan 1

Norwich, England - Norwich City extended its unbeaten streak in league play to 10 games on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Wigan at Carrow Road.

Anthony Pilkington's goal after 15 minutes put the Canaries in front after Wes Hoolahan won the ball near the edge of the penalty area.

But Wigan responded after halftime to level the contest in the 51st minute as Arouna Kone pulled the ball back for substitute Shaun Maloney to hammer past Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

After scoring the opening goal for Norwich, Pilkington turned provider on the winner in the 64th minute when he drove to the end line and floated the ball to the front of goal for Hoolahan to head home, giving Norwich its fifth straight home victory.

QPR 2, Fulham 1

London, England - QPR's wait for a first league win this season is now over after Adel Taarabt scored two goals to lead the club to a 2-1 win over Fulham at Loftus Road.

QPR had drawn its last three games and Harry Redknapp's side came out strong from the start and took the game to the visitors, although they had to wait until the 52nd minute for the first goal.

Taarabt made a nice run through the Fulham defense but was a bit fortunate with his finish as his shot struck defender Brede Hangeland and rolled past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who was left wrong-footed.

QPR went two goals up in the 68th minute after a nice solo effort from Taarabt, while Fulham could only manage to pull one goal back in the 88th minute through substitute Mladen Petric.

The result lifts QPR off the bottom of the league but the club is still five points from safety.

Stoke City 1, Everton 1

Stoke-on-Trent, England - Stoke City extended its unbeaten streak to seven games on Saturday after earning a 1-1 draw with Everton at the Britannia Stadium.

The result should come as no surprise considering the two sides lead the Premiership with nine draws apiece, leaving Everton in danger of falling out of the top four.

Stoke has the best defensive record in the league this season, but captain Ryan Shawcross handed Everton the lead in the 36th minute when he inadvertently headed a cross from Steven Pienaar into his own net.

However, the hosts were able to produce an equalizer early in the second half when Kenwyne Jones scored his first league goal in over a year by nodding a long ball from Shawcross past Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.