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Arsenal misfire as other big guns find range

Tuesday 1 January 2013 20.40 CET
Robin van Persie celebrates United's second goal against Wigan

It was a case of new year, same old story in the Premier League as Manchester United FC, Manchester City FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC all kicked off 2013 as they ended 2012 – by securing three points.

United and City did so with renewed vigour, easing to commanding victories that ensured no repeat of the nerve-shredding finales that have littered their festive programs. The leaders were most impressive, two goals apiece from Javier Hernández and Robin van Persie earning a 4-0 triumph at Wigan Athletic FC, a belated gift for Sir Alex Ferguson 24 hours after his 71st birthday.

Pablo Zabaleta's strike just before half-time set City on course for a 3-0 victory over Stoke City FC, while Michael Dawson's first league goal in nearly two years helped Tottenham come from behind to overpower visitors Reading FC 3-1. Spurs' north London rivals Arsenal FC could not match their neighbours when they found themselves in arrears at struggling Southampton FC; Arsène Wenger's side equalised but a winner was beyond them.

There was more disappointment for Aston Villa FC as Danny Graham's last-gasp effort earned Swansea City AFC a 2-2 draw in Wales. Paul Lambert's side did at least halt a run of three heavy losses, yet there was no such respite for the Scotsman's former club Norwich City FC as West Ham United FC consigned them to a fourth successive defeat. Fulham FC beat West Bromwich Albion FC in the early game.

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