Game On – New Years Day – By Tim Magnus

Manchester United started their 2013 with a 4-0 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium to maintain their seven point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Braces from strikers Javier Hernandez and Robin Van Persie proved to be more than enough for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to comfortably dispatch a struggling Wigan who remain in the relegation zone on goal difference.

If this game is anything to go by, 2013 is going to be a successful one for United and a rather more difficult one for the Latics.

Manchester City secured a 3-0 victory over Stoke at the Etihad Stadium to keep pace with their Manchester neighbours at the top of the Premier League.

The first goal came from an unlikely source, when a James Milner cross was diverted into the path of Pablo Zabaleta to calmly put the Champions one up.

Edin Dzeko is proving to his manager, Roberto Mancini that he can be more than a super sub, as he scored his third goal in two games and his eighth of the season.

The scoring was completed when Sergio Aguero converted a controversial penalty, which was won after Steven Nzonzi tripped David Silva outside the area but referee Michael Oliver incorrectly ruled it to be inside.

The only downside for Manchester City was the hamstring injury suffered by Aguero, which makes him a doubt for their FA Cup clash with Watford and their next league match, which is against Arsenal.

Goals from Mark Noble and Joey O’Brien were enough to give West Ham all three points in a 2-1 win over Norwich City at Upton Park, as referee Mark Clattenburg was once again at the centre of controversy.

Norwich were incensed after three game changing decisions all went against them whilst they had seemed to have legitimate arguments for all three.

The first was the penalty decision in the first couple of minutes, when Ryan Bennett was harshly judged to have fouled Winston Reid in the penalty area.

Noble stepped up to score his third penalty of the season whilst Chris Hughton was left fuming on the touchline. He was further angered when his team had a strong penalty appeal waved away after a handball from Reid.

To make matters worse, the Hammer’s second goal came after Clattenburg failed to stop play after a coming together between Alexander Tettey and Carlton Cole, which gave Joey O’Brien a rare goal to put Sam Allardyce’s team two up.

Norwich were also denied a clear penalty in the second half, but even a late Russell Martin goal couldn’t salvage anything for the Canaries as they lost their fourth game in a row in a match where they can feel harshly done by.

An injury time equaliser from Danny Graham denied Aston Villa all three points at the Liberty Stadium as they drew 2-2 with Swansea City.

The welsh side were the team which opened the scoring early on thanks to Wayne Routledge’s smart finish when he rounded Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.

Paul Lambert’s side turned the game on its head, however, as an equaliser from Andres Weimann and an 84th minute penalty from Christian Benteké put Villa to a seemingly vital three points.

However Graham’s 94th minute volley left Villa distraught, only one point from the relegation zone in 16th place.

Dimitar Berbatov and Alexander Kacaniklic gave Fulham a surprise win at the Hawthorns as they beat West Brom 2-1 in the early kick off on New Years Day.

The Baggies started poorly and were made to pay for their slow start when Berbatov fired in his sixth of the season before half time.

On loan Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku continues to make a good impression during his season long loan, and he scored the equaliser after half time to give Steve Clarke’s side hope of getting something from the game.

It wasn’t to be however, as Kacaniklic prodded the ball past Ben Foster in the West Brom goal as he was caught hopelessly out of position. The win moves Fulham up to thirteenth whilst the Baggies stay seventh and miss out on the chance to go level on points with fourth place.

Southampton earned their third draw in a row as they held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at St Marys to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.

Saints took the lead through their summer signing Gaston Ramirez, as he took advantage of some shambolic Arsenal defending.

Their lead was short lived however, as a Guly Du Prada own goal salvaged a point for a lacklustre Arsenal in a game which Arsene Wenger would want to forget as his side struggled to find any fluidity or flair, mustering only a solitary effort on target all game.

Tottenham started 2013 as they finished 2012 by coming from behind to win, this time at White Hart Lane to beat lowly Reading 3-1 and temporarily move up to third in the table.

An early Pavel Pogrebnyak goal had given Reading a shock lead over Andre Villas Boas’ in form side, but an equaliser from Michael Dawson and second half goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Clint Dempsey gave Spurs all three points to plunge Reading into more relegation misery.

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