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Updated: Hernandez and Van Persie shine as United cruise

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates his side's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium, Wigan. Photo: Martin Rickett, PA Wire

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates his side's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium, Wigan. Photo: Martin Rickett, PA Wire

Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie both scored twice as Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United beat Wigan 4-0 to begin the year in fine style.

Hernandez also had a strike disallowed, which came prior to him making the breakthrough after 35 minutes at the DW Stadium.

Van Persie doubled United's lead in the 43rd minute and it was the Dutchman's free-kick that ballooned up to present Hernandez with his chance to net again in the 63rd minute.

The Mexican striker's volley ended Wigan's hopes of any reward and Van Persie fired a late fourth as United passed the 50-point mark, taking their haul to 52 from 21 games this season.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side continue to head nearest rivals Manchester City by seven points as they attempt to claw back the league title from their neighbours.

Full-back Pablo Zabaleta inched City towards a 3-0 win against Stoke when he scored in the 43rd minute at the Etihad Stadium.

Edin Dzeko doubled the lead after 56 minutes when Sergio Aguero saw a shot pushed out, and Aguero fired a 74th-minute penalty to complete the scoring after Steven Nzonzi fouled David Silva.

Tottenham climbed to third place, a point ahead of Chelsea who have two games in hand, after a 3-1 home win over second-bottom side Reading.

Andre Villas-Boas saw his side fall behind to a Pavel Pogrebnyak effort in the fourth minute, but Michael Dawson headed the hosts level in the ninth minute and Emmanuel Adebayor edged them ahead six minutes into the second half.

Clint Dempsey made the points safe, with his shot benefiting from a deflection as it beat Adam Federici for the third Tottenham goal in the 79th minute.

Danny Graham cracked home a late equaliser for Swansea against Aston Villa to earn a 2-2 draw.

Visitors Villa had fallen behind to Wayne Routledge's ninth-minute finish, after he surged clear of a static defence to round goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

But the outlook improved for Paul Lambert's side just before the break when Andreas Weimann netted an equaliser in the 44th minute.

Christian Benteke's penalty after Nathan Dyer's foul on Weimann put Villa ahead, as they looked to banish memories of dismal recent results. But Graham had the final say, his powerful finish with time running out sparking delight among home supporters at the Liberty Stadium.

A third-minute penalty from Mark Noble and Joey O'Brien's strike in the 26th minute gave West Ham a 2-0 cushion against Norwich at Upton Park. Russell Martin pulled one back for Norwich late in the second half but the Canaries could not find a leveller.

Earlier, Fulham eased their relegation worries as Alexander Kacaniklic's second-half goal earned them a 2-1 win at West Brom.

The Cottagers had slid towards the bottom three after winning only one of their previous 12 games but were well worth their second away success of the campaign.

Dimitar Berbatov's seventh goal of the season gave the Cottagers a half-time lead and although Romelu Lukaku levelled after the break, Kacaniklic restored the visitors' advantage in the 58th minute.

In the late kick-off Arsenal were held 1-1 at Southampton. Gaston Ramirez scored the opener for the home side but shortly after a Guly do Prado own goal meant the points were shared.

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