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Van Persie, Chicharito lead United past Wigan

Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez wasted little time opening their scoring accounts in the new year, bagging braces at the DW Stadium on Tuesday to lift Manchester United to a 4-0 defeat of Wigan.

Chicharito continued his fine form against the Latics, producing his fifth and sixth goals in just six appearances against the club. The Mexico international even had two goals called back for offside.

Van Persie's brace brings his Premier League tally to 16 goals on the season, three goals clear of Newcastle's Demba Ba for the lead.

United struggled to get going from the opening whistle but began to settle into a better rhythm by the half-hour mark.

The Red Devils were able to capitalize by breaking through in the 34th minute as Patrice Evra's shot was parried right into the path of Hernandez, who was waiting at the top of the six-yard box to convert.

United stole a second goal just before the halftime interval as Van Persie collected a pass from Chicharito and curled a composed finish past Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi at the far post.

The visitors extended their lead just after the hour mark when Van Persie's blocked free kick fell to Chicharito in the penalty area. The Mexican striker reacted quickly and fired a side-volley past Al Habsi.

Van Persie put the icing on the cake three minutes from time when second-half substitute Danny Welbeck squared a pass for the unmarked Dutchman to easily stick in the back of the net.

United remains seven points clear of the top of the table after Manchester City also began the new year with a win. The Red Devils have won eight of their last nine league matches to improve to 52 points through 21 games.

Wigan has lost four of its last five Premier League contests to remain on 18 points.

Manchester City 3, Stoke City 0

Manchester, England - Manchester City kept pace with United at the top of the table, earning a 3-0 defeat of Stoke City at the Etihad on Tuesday.

Pablo Zabaleta scored in the 43rd minute to produce the lone goal of the first half while Edin Dzeko's goal in the 56th and Sergio Aguero's penalty in the 74th put the match out of reach for the Potters.

The Citizens have won four of their last five league games to improve to 45 points while Stoke's nine-match unbeaten run comes to an end, leaving the club on 29 points.

Swansea City 2, Aston Villa 2

Swansea, Wales - Danny Graham denied Aston Villa a much-needed win on Tuesday, striking deep into second-half stoppage time to see Swansea City salvage a point in a 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium.

The Welsh club took the lead in the ninth minute through Wayne Routledge, but his goal was canceled out one minute before halftime by Andreas Weimann.

The Villans thought they had done enough to claim all three points when Christian Benteke converted a penalty in the 83rd minute, but Graham's goal in the fourth minute of added time prevented the visitors from leaving the Liberty with maximum points.

Aston Villa, on 19 points, has managed one point from its last four league games. Swansea is unbeaten in four, improving to 29 points.

Southampton 1, Arsenal 1

Southampton, England - Arsenal failed to make it five Premier League wins in a row as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at St. Mary's on Tuesday.

The Gunners fell behind when Gaston Ramirez opened the scoring in the 35th minute. They needed an own goal from Guilherme Do Prado six minutes later to bail them out and salvage a point.

Arsenal is unbeaten in its last five and improves to 34 points to maintain fifth place. Southampton climbs out of the relegation zone by improving to 18 points, edging out Wigan on goal differential.

Tottenham 3, Reading 1

London, England - Tottenham fell behind early but stormed back to claim a comfortable 3-1 victory over Reading at White Hart Lane on Tuesday.

Pavel Pogrebnyak gave visiting Reading the lead in the third minute, but it was canceled out by Michael Dawson seven minutes later. The second half belonged to Spurs as Emmanuel Adebayor nodded Tottenham in front in the 51st minute before Clint Dempsey wrapped up the affair 11 minutes from time.

Tottenham climbs back into third place with 39 points but has played two more matches than fourth-place Chelsea. Reading stays second from bottom with 13 points.

West Ham 2, Norwich City 1

London, England - West Ham snapped a four-game winless run by earning a 2-1 victory over Norwich City at Upton Park on Tuesday.

The Hammers had a two-goal lead by halftime as Mark Noble converted a penalty in the third minute and Joey O'Brien doubled the advantage in the 26th minute. Russell Martin pulled one back for the Canaries in the dying minutes, but the visitors were unable to conjure an equalizer.

West Ham improves to 26 points to move one point ahead of Norwich, which has lost four league matches in a row.

Fulham 2, West Bromwich 1

West Bromwich, England - Fulham secured just its second Premier League win since October, claiming a 2-1 defeat of West Bromwich at the Hawthorns on Tuesday.

Dimitar Berbatov and Romelu Lukaku exchanged their seventh goals of the season in the 39th and 49th minutes, respectively, but it was Alexander Kacaniklic's strike in the 58th minute that saw Fulham claim all three points to snap a four-game winless run.

Martin Jol's side improves to 24 points while the Baggies remain on 33 points after suffering their second straight defeat.