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Three and easy for Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov struck his third hat-trick of the season as Manchester United brushed aside woeful Birmingham at Old Trafford to retain top spot in the Barclays Premier League.

Berbatov took just two minutes to set United on their way to a 5-0 win and extended the unbeaten record of Sir Alex Ferguson's men in the league this season to 22 matches.

The Bulgarian headed home after John O'Shea flicked on a Giggs corner and added his second just past the half-hour mark when he pounced on Roger Johnson's error to net his 17th of the season.

Giggs slid home a simple chance in first-half injury time and the misery continued for Birmingham after the break as Berbatov converted his hat-trick after 53 minutes and Nani's low effort on 76 completed the rout.

Robin Van Persie matched Berbatov's efforts by grabbing all three in Arsenal's easy 3-0 win over struggling Wigan at the Emirates Stadium - and the striker could even afford to miss a penalty.

Van Persie opened the scoringn after 22 minutes when he rammed a shot past visiting keeper Ali al-Habsi, who had pulled off a pair of super saves early to deny both Van Persie and Samir Nasri.

Van Persie had to wait until the 58th minute to add his second with a crisp volley, and despite ballooning a 70th-minute spot-kick after the incident which saw Wigan's Gary Caldwell sent off, he finally netted his third five minutes from time.

Aaron Lennon snatched a dramatic point for Tottenham at St James' Park when he fired home in injury time to cancel out Fabricio Coloccini's 59th-minute opener for Newcastle.

Coloccini's superbly controlled effort looked to have taken the points after a goalless first half in which Leon Best hit the bar for the home side and Jermain Defoe was denied by a magnificent save by Steve Harper.

And there was an equally dramatic finish at Goodison Park where Marouane Fellaini's injury-time effort denied Avram Grant the chance to spring his beleaguered West ham out of the relegation zone.

Jonathan Spector had given the Hammers the half-time lead before Diniyar Bilyaletdinov equalised with a right-foot shot in the 66th minute but the real drama was yet to come.

Frederic Piquionne headed home a Wayne Bridge cross to put the Hammers in front with six minutes to go, only to be handed a second yellow card for over-celebrating. Fellaini's last-gasp leveller leaves the Hammers rock-bottom.

Kieran Richardson proved there is life after Darren Bent at Sunderland as he scored his first two goals of the season to give the Black Cats a 2-1 win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.

Richardson slid home a 15th-minute opener and increased the visitors' lead on 36 with a neat left-foot finish. Charlie Adam's penalty four minutes from time was not enough to rescue the home side.

Clint Dempsey's double gave Fulham a 2-0 win in a bad-tempered tussle with Stoke at Craven Cottage, with the visitors finishing with 10 men after the 55th minute dismissal of Ryan Shawcross.

Damien Duff hit the bar for the home side before Dempsey smashed home an Andrew Johnson cross after 33 minutes. Demspey added the second from the spot after he was brought down by Shawcross in the incident which brought the Stoke man's red card.

In the early kick-off, Kenny Dalglish got his second campaign as Liverpool boss up and running with a comfortable 3-0 win at Wolves thanks to a double from Fernando Torres and one from Raul Meireles.

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent instantly repaid a slice of his £18million fee with the winner against title hopefuls Manchester City.

The former Sunderland player broke the deadlock with his first clear-cut opportunity after 18 minutes at Villa Park.

City, with their £59million strike force of Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko, dominated for long spells but could not find a way past Villa's rock solid defence in which James Collins and former City centre-back Richard Dunne were outstanding.

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