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Van Persie and Hernandez give Man Utd winning start to 2013

Robin van Persie wheels away after scoring Manchester United's second goal in the 4-0 win over Wigan.

Story highlights

  • Manchester Utd beat Wigan 4-0 to stay seven points clear in EPL
  • Second placed Manchester City ease past Stoke to keep pace
  • Tottenham back into third spot with 3-1 home win over Reading
  • Arsenal held at Southampton in late kick off on New Year's Day

Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez began 2013 as they ended the old year by grabbing two goals apiece as Manchester United won 4-0 at Wigan Tuesday to stay top of the English Premier League by seven points.

Mexico's Hernandez, who scored the crucial Boxing Day winner in the 4-3 victory over Newcastle, grabbed the opener and the third for United at the DW Stadium.

Van Persie, the key summer signing for United, made it 19 for the season for his new side, with 16 coming in the EPL, the leading tally.

Hernandez, taking his share of responsibility in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney, tapped home a 35th minute opener after Ali Al Habsi saved from Patrice Evra.

Dutch ace van Persie scored the second eight minutes later, fielding a pass from Hernandez before curling the ball home.

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Hernandez added a third just after the hour mark with a neat finish before van Persie took advantage of slack defending with two minutes to go.

    It was United's eighth win in their last nine EPL matches and manager Alex Ferguson is delighted by his new acquisition.

    "Van Persie's first goal was magnificent. We expected him to be a major player and add something to us, and that's exactly what he's done," he told BBC Sport.

    Read: EPL goes goal crazy

    Defending champions Manchester City kept pace with a 3-0 home win over Stoke City, with Pablo Zabaleta, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero on target against a team who had been on a 10-match unbeaten run.

    But Argentina's Aguero limped off with a hamstring injury after converting a second half penalty. He is likely to be sidelined for about two weeks, said the club.

    Tottenham Hotspur continued their recent strong run with a 3-1 home win over struggling Reading.

    Pavel Pogrebnyak gave Reading a surprise fourth minute lead but Michael Dawson canceled it out five minutes later.

    Togo star Emmanuel Adebayor and American international Clint Dempsey scored in the second half as Spurs went a point clear of Chelsea, who are at home to QPR Wednesday.

    In other matches, Aston Villa put a half to their alarming slide with a 2-2 draw at Swansea, the home side grabbing a point through Danny Graham's injury time equalizer.

    Dimitar Berbatov scored the opener as Fulham returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion in the early kick off, while West Ham saw off Norwich 2-1.

    Arsenal, who hit seven at home to Newcastle last Saturday, could not repeat the magic at Southampton where they were held 1-1 in the late kick off. Gaston Ramirez took advantage of poor defending to put the Saints ahead in the 34th minute.

    Theo Walcott, who scored a hat-trick in their big win, took the free kick which led to a Guly do Prado own goal before half time, but Arsenal could not force a victory and lost ground in the race for a Champions League place.

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