EPL roundup: United thrashes Wigan

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov walks off with the match ball after their English Premier...

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov walks off with the match ball after their English Premier League soccer match against Wigan Athletic in Manchester, northern England December 26, 2011. (REUTERS/Nigel Roddis)

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, Last Updated: 6:04 PM ET

MANCHESTER - Manchester United joined Manchester City at the top of the Premiership on Monday after securing a comfortable 5-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford.

Dimitar Berbatov netted a hat trick for United while Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia also added goals to give Sir Alex Ferguson's side eight wins in its last nine games.

City's 0-0 draw at West Bromwich on Monday allows United to join the Citizens at the top of the league on 45 points, while Wigan remains in the bottom three after having its three-game unbeaten streak snapped.

United started quickly and went ahead after eight minutes as Patrice Evra pulled a ball back for Park to finish with a first-time shot.

Wigan remained within a goal until five minutes before halftime when striker Conor Sammon was sent off for elbowing United's Michael Carrick. And the hosts took advantage as Berbatov netted his first goal of the game one minute later from a Darron Gibson cross.

United piled more misery on the visitors after the break with Berbatov scoring his second goal of the contest from a Valencia pass, while the Ecuador international found the net himself with a right-footed shot inside the far post.

The scoring was capped in the 78th minute when Park was fouled inside the penalty area, allowing Berbatov to complete his hat trick by beating goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi from the spot.

 

West Bromwich 0, Manchester City 0

West Bromwich, England - Manchester City's lead at the top of the Premiership was wiped away on Monday after a 0-0 draw with West Bromwich at The Hawthorns.

City's Mario Balotelli struck the crossbar and had a goal taken away, but West Brom's tight defense frustrated City throughout the match and the Baggies nearly claimed all three points themselves with a period of pressure in the second half.

The home side entered the match having won its last two games and came out defending with determination in the first half.

Balotelli had the ball in the net in the opening 45 minutes but was ruled offside, while he struck the crossbar with a 30-yard effort shortly after the restart.

But despite seeing little of the ball for long stretches of the match, the home side produced a few chances of its own and nearly took the lead when Shane Long's close-range header skipped narrowly past the post.

West Brom's Jerome Thomas then had the best opportunity for either side in the final 20 minutes when his low shot from outside the penalty area beat goalkeeper Joe Hart but came back off the post.

 

Chelsea 1, Fulham 1

London, England - Clint Dempsey's 56th-minute goal forced Chelsea to settle for a 1-1 draw against Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Monday, further damaging the title hopes of the Blues.

Juan Mata had put the home side in front a few minutes after halftime when he finished off a cross from Ashley Cole. However, it took Fulham less than 10 minutes to reply and it came from a Bryan Ruiz cross that Dempsey stabbed home from a few yards.

Chelsea managed to test Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale a few times in the final 30 minutes but his net was never seriously threatened, dropping Chelsea 11 points off the pace at the top of the league.

 

Newcastle 2, Bolton 0

Bolton, England - Newcastle snapped a six-game winless skid on Monday with a pair of second-half goals at the Reebok Stadium to hand Bolton a 2-0 defeat.

Newcastle had earned just two points from its last six games after a flying start to the campaign, and the match entered the final 25 minutes without a goal.

But the Magpies broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when a Ryan Taylor cross was nicely finished off by substitute Hatem Ben Arfa, who beat goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen with a well-struck volley.

The visitors added to their lead just one minute later when Gabriel Obertan worked his way down the right wing and crossed for Demba Ba, who tallied his 14th goal of the season to secure the win.

Bolton has lost six of its last seven games to remain three points from safety, with Newcastle closing to within one point of sixth-place Liverpool.

 

Liverpool 1, Blackburn 1

Liverpool, England - Liverpool was held to another draw at Anfield on Monday as Blackburn snapped a three-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw.

Kenny Dalglish has now seen his team held to draws in five of their last six home games, with Monday's result coming as another failed chance to pick up three points.

A win could have lifted Liverpool into the top five, but the hosts went down a goal just before halftime when Charlie Adam redirected a corner kick from Morten Gamst Pedersen into his own net.

Liverpool responded early in the second half as a failed clearance fell to Martin Skrtel and he curled the ball to the far post for Maxi Rodriguez to head home.

But the Reds were unable to produce a winning goal as the best chance came in the final minutes from Daniel Agger's header, which needed to be cleared off the goal line.

 

Sunderland 1, Everton 1

Sunderland, England - Sunderland moved four points clear of the drop zone on Monday after playing to a 1-1 draw with Everton at the Stadium of Light.

Black Cats manager Martin O'Neill had won two of his first three games in charge since taking over for Steve Bruce, and he saw his team take the lead midway through the first half courtesy of Jack Colback, whose shot took a deflection off of Everton defender Sylvain Distin and found the net.

The Toffees were back on level terms six minutes after the break when Leon Osman was ruled to have been fouled inside the penalty area, allowing Leighton Baines to smash home his spot kick.

Sunderland's Kieran Richardson came the closest to breaking the deadlock as his corner kick needed to be headed off the goal line by Tony Hibbert.

 

Stoke City 0, Aston Villa 0

Stoke-on-Trent, England - Stoke City failed to rebound from its first loss in five matches, as it settled for a 0-0 draw against struggling Aston Villa at Britannia Stadium on Monday.

Stoke had a four-game win streak snapped last week by Manchester City, and the hosts survived Emile Heskey's header off the right post in the first half, and were denied a winner when Marc Wilson's shot hit the bar and then was cleared off the line by Gabriel Agbonlahor midway through the second half.

Aston Villa, which had lost three of its last four, earned just its third away result. Villa has one win and two draws on the road, and is 12th in the table. Stoke dropped points at home for the fifth time and is eighth.

 

 

 

 


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