United strikers red hot at Wigan
Premier League review:Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie both scored twice as leaders Manchester United beat Wigan 4-0 to begin the year in style, while Manchester City stayed in touch with a win over Stoke City and Tottenham moved third with a 3-1 victory over Reading. Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at St Mary's.
United's Mexican striker Hernandez might have had a hat-trick had an effort prior to his 35th minute opener at the DW Stadium not been ruled out.
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 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.
“We knew we were getting a top player who would make a difference to the team,” said Alex Ferguson of Van Persie afterwards. “That is why we went for him. Robin is a completely rounded footballer. He has great international experience, he’s played for Arsenal for seven years and he came to us at the very peak of his career.
“His ability to make and take goals is fantastic. His play for his first goal was absolutely magnificent, his turn, his balance, no drawback, just side footed it in. It was a really good goal.”
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 Citytowards a 3-0 win against Stokewhen 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.
Aguero limped off afterwards, with a hamstring problem and looks set to miss Saturday's FA Cup third-round match with second tier Watford at least.
"It's difficult to assess an injury like that and how long it is going to be. Certainly on Saturday he will be out and my experience would say he will be doubtful for Arsenal (on January 13th)," said City's assistant boss David Platt. "But it is far too early to tell. There will be a lot of swelling in there and a bit of bleeding and, to be honest, we won't know for 48 hours how quickly it is going to settle down."
Southamptonmoved out of the bottom three with a thoroughly deserved win over the Gunnersin the evening kick-off.
Gaston Ramirez gave the homeside the lead after some calamitous defending from the visitors in the 34th minute but Arsene Wenger's side struck back seven minutes later, thanks to an own goal from Guly Do Prado, who deflected Theo Walcott's free-kick into his own net.
Arsenal could not create much more, however, and had Ramirez not been harshly ruled to have pushed Laurent Koscielny before firing into the Gunners net in the second half, it would have been the hosts who claimed all three points.
The Londoners remain fifth, four points behind Chelsea in fourth having played a game more.
Tottenhamclimbed 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.