Manchester United restored their four-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Barclays Premier League as two goals by Javier Hernandez guided them to a 4-0 win at struggling Wigan.
The Latics could have taken the lead before Sir Alex Ferguson’s team went ahead following a trademark quick break.
Nani collected the ball and exchanged two quick passes with Wayne Rooney before the Portuguese played a ball in from the left which found Hernandez who nipped in front of goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi and flick the ball home.
The Mexican got his second when he was played through by a first-time Rooney pass and calmly slotted past Al Habsi.
Rooney made it three when Dimitar Berbatov collected a ball over the top and raced towards goal where he passed to his fellow forward who had a simple task.
Fabio scored two minutes after coming on as substitute when he slotted home unmarked at the back post.
Two goals by Ashley Young guided Aston Villa to a vital 4-1 win against Blackburn.
After a goalless first half, Villa took the lead four minutes after the break.
Keith Andrews inexplicably attempted to turn and dribble out of his own area but Young pounced only for the midfielder to haul him down for a certain penalty and Young made no mistake.
Marc Albrighton’s cross went in off Grant Hanley’s knee before Stewart Downing ran from the halfway line, cut in and coolly slotted across Paul Robinson into the bottom left-hand corner.
Rovers pulled one back through a Nikola Kalinic screamer before Young restored the three-goal lead when he was found unmarked in the area by Downing and hit a firm shot into the net.
Wolves moved out of the relegation zone after a 4-0 win over Blackpool at Molineux.
The match had been overshadowed by the news of the death of former defender Dean Richards this morning.
Mick McCarthy’s side went ahead in the second minute following a flowing move involving David Edwards who collected the ball on the right before cutting inside and playing the ball to Adam Hamill.
He in turn found an unmarked Matt Jarvis who sent a firm shot across Richard Kingson.
Blackpool were reduced to 10 men when DJ Campbell was given a straight red card for pushing Richard Stearman in the face shortly before half-time.
Jamie O’Hara doubled the lead when he ran unchallenged from just inside the Seasiders’ half and unleashed a shot from just outside the area.
It was easy for Wolves and they went 3-0 up when Kevin Doyle’s cross from the right was met by an unmarked Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who had plenty of time to tap in from three yards out.
The former Plymouth forward put the ball across Kingson at the death with a firm drive as Wolves moved out of the drop zone and above West Brom on goal difference.
Newcastle drew 1-1 with Bolton.
Newcastle went ahead in the 13th minute when Cheick Tiote’s cross from the left was met by an unmarked Kevin Nolan who flicked a header low into the bottom right-hand corner.
The visitors levelled through Daniel Sturridge after the on-loan Chelsea striker received the ball from Johan Elmander and although he was between two defenders, Sturridge quickly unleashed the shot.
However, the Magpies were reduced to 10 men when Ryan Taylor was given a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Elmander, leaving the referee with little option.
Jermaine Beckford scored twice as Everton beat Sunderland 2-0.
Beckford put the Toffees ahead in the eighth minute after he lifted the ball over the onrushing Simon Mignolet with Titus Bramble diverting the ball into the goal.
Beckford got his second when he converted Mikel Arteta’s cross from close range.