Manchester United took a big step towards their 20th league title by moving level on points with leaders Manchester City, who were held 0-0 at West Brom, following a 5-0 victory against Wigan.
United, who thrashed Fulham 5-0 five days ago and Wigan suffered the same fate with the help of Dimitar Berbatov’s hat-trick (41, 58, 78). Park Ji-Sung (8) had set the English champions on the way to a fifth league victory in December before Wigan’s Conor Sammon was dismissed (40). Antonio Valencia (75) ensured United halved City’s superior goal difference to five.
West Brom became the first Premier League side this season to prevent Roberto Mancini’s charges from scoring by earning a goalless draw at The Hawthorns, in which both Mario Balotelli and Jerome Thomas struck the woodwork. City have been the best team in the Premier League so far, but Roberto Mancini has to be concerned that United have stayed right with them, despite City not having sticky patches or significant injuries so far this season.
Andre Villas-Boas admitted that Chelsea’s title hopes were over after they were held to their third consecutive 1-1 draw, Fulham’s Clint Dempsey cancelling out Juan Mata’s opening goal.
Elsewhere, Demba Ba scored his 14th league goal of the season as Newcastle United beat Bolton 2-0. Liverpool once again dropped points to a struggling team at home, this time it was Blackburn who earned a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Sunderland and Everton drew 1-1 while Stoke and Aston Villa played to a 0-0 draw in the late game.