Dimitar Berbatov scores a hat-trick as Manchester United thrash Wigan 5-0
The result lifts United level with rivals Manchester City at the top of Premier League
City lead on goal difference despite a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion
Chelsea and Liverpool are both held at home by teams in bottom half of table
Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat-trick as Manchester United thrashed 10-man Wigan Athletic 5-0 at Old Trafford to draw level with rivals Manchester City at the top of the English Premier League.
City went into the traditional Boxing Day fixtures two points clear of champions United, but Roberto Mancini’s side were held to a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion.
That meant United’s result puts the two sides level at the top on 45 points, with City keeping hold of their lead on goal difference.
United had thrashed Fulham 5-0 in midweek and they always looked set for another big victory once Park Ji-Sung had converted Patrice Evra’s eight-minute cross.
And Wigan’s task was made even harder when Conor Sammon was sent off for catching Michael Carrick with a stray arm.
United took full advantage when Berbatov netted just before half-time and the same player added United’s third goal from Antonio Valencia’s 58th-minute pass.
Valencia himself made it 4-0 in the 75th minute and Berbatov completed his treble from the penalty spot after Antonin Alcaraz had tripped Park in the area.
Tottenham, who play Norwich on Tuesday, are 10 points behind the Manchester clubs in third place – although they have two games in hand – while Chelsea are a further point behind in fourth after being held to a 1-1 home draw by London neighbors Fulham.
Juan Mata put Chelsea ahead before half-time but the visitors leveled 11 minutes after the interval when Clint Dempsey tapped home Bryan Ruiz’s pass.
Arsenal will play Wolverhampton on Tuesday, and they can move up to third place with a victory, while Liverpool are sixth, a massive 14 points off the top, after a disappointing 1-1 home draw with bottom club Blackburn.
The struggling visitors, without an away win all season, took the lead on the stroke of half time when Charlie Adam deflected a Morten Gamst Pedersen’s corner into his own net.
But Liverpool equalized soon after the break through a Maxi Rodriguez header. However, Liverpool have now drawn six of their nine home matches, a run that is threatening their hopes of making the Champions League places.
They are just a point ahead of seventh-placed Newcastle, who returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win at second-bottom Bolton, who have now lost eight of their nine home matches this season.