Premier League round-up
Manchester United's relentless march to the Premier League title shows no sign of abating as they opened up a 15-point lead at the summit
Last Updated: 08/03/13 10:42am
Manchester United's relentless march to the Premier League title shows no sign of abating as they opened up a 15-point lead at the summit courtesy of a 4-0 win over Norwich, while Chelsea are up to third after seeing off West Brom.
Birthday boy Harry Redknapp had an afternoon to remember as he masterminded a QPR win at his former club Southampton; in a result made all the sweeter by the fact Everton were too strong for Reading at Goodison Park in claiming a 3-1 victory.
West Ham conducted a perfect smash-and-grab job at Stoke City, Sunderland and Fulham shared four goals and the spoils at the Stadium of Light, while at the Liberty Stadium Swansea left it late to see off Newcastle United.
In Saturday's late kick-off Liverpool were emphatic on their travels to North West neighbours Wigan as they eased to a 4-0 victory, which included a Luis Suarez hat-trick.
Norwich never gave up the fight at Old Trafford but in Shinji Kagawa came up against a Manchester United player at the peak of his powers as he bagged himself an eye-catching hat-trick.
The Japanese schemer's first came on the stroke of half-time to ease any nerves felt by the home crowd. Antonio Valencia's cross from the right was prodded into Kagawa's path by Robin van Persie and from close range he beat Mark Bunn.
His second of the afternoon, with 15 minutes left, was even more timely as it quelled any Norwich hopes of getting back into the contest. Carrick's clever pass down the right channel found Wayne Rooney and after he expertly made a yard of space to provide a pinpoint delivery, Kagawa's calmest of finishes further cemented United's status as champions elect.
Kagawa's third was the pick of his haul as Danny Welbeck and Rooney combined to play him in for another delicate finish to round off another fine team goal.
The best was saved for last though as Rooney got in on the act with a spectacular effort from range that will be bettered by few this season, as he pinged in an absolute beauty from 25-yards.
Rafa Benitez has endured a week to forget off the field but on it his Chelsea side did their 'interim' manager a favour by beating West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
It took the home side just under half an hour to find a breakthrough when a neatly worked short-corner culminated in David Luiz sneaking in at the back post to nod Oscar's looping cross into the path of Demba Ba, who had the simplest of jobs to steer in from close range.
West Brom kept at the task in hand and were it not for some profligacy in front of goal and a smart Petr Cech save, may just have left the capital with a point.
Everton needed a hard-fought win to pull them out of a sticky patch of poor form as they beat Reading 3-1 at Goodison Park.
David Moyes' side survived an early scare when Adam Le Fondre rattled the woodwork before Marouane Fellaini's 12th goal of the season forged them ahead before half-time.
It was the Belgian who started the move he went on to finish when after switching the ball to Seamus Coleman on the right, he made inroads into Reading's box to meet the return cross with a bullet of a header.
After the interval it was all Everton as they added to their lead through a pair of fine efforts. Steven Pienaar got the first in spectacular fashion when he cut inside from the right to unleash a jackhammer of a strike from the edge of the area that flew into the top corner.
The South African then turned provider as he played in Kevin Mirallas with a clever pass that dissected Reading's backline. Mirallas was a model of composure as he steadied himself before calming beating Stuart Taylor at his near post.
Hal Robson-Kanu's late consolation proved to be no more than that for Reading as Brian McDermott's side were unable to stage a fight-back.
Harry Redknapp was not awarded the warmest of receptions on his St Mary's return but will care not one iota as his QPR side eked out a 2-1 victory over Southampton.
QPR constructed a fine counter-attack to take the lead on 15 minutes as Loic Remy found a deft finish from a tight angle after being played through, despite Danny Fox's best efforts to keep the ball from crossing the line.
It was a lead they relinquished before half-time though. Jay Rodriguez's shot from distance should have been dealt with but when QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar spilled into the path of Gaston Ramirez, the talented Uruguayan pulled off an outlandish dinked finish to level.
QPR's winner on 77 minutes owed much to Park Ji-Sung's industry. The Hoops midfielder won a ball he had no right to win before feeding in a low cross for forgotten man Jay Bothroyd to convert from a couple of yards.
West Ham substitute Jack Collison was his side's hero at the Britannia Stadium as he had the Stoke fans groaning on the stroke of half-time, when he angled home from fellow replacement Ricardo Vaz Te's cute reverse ball.
Stoke rallied after the interval and went close to levelling late on when Charlie Adam struck the bar but it was Sam Allardyce's side who stood strong to claim what could prove to a massive three points for the Hammers.
It proved to be some game at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland and Fulham shared four goals on a glorious afternoon in the North East.
Fulham took the lead in controversial circumstances when Mark Halsey changed his mind to award a penalty after ruling Craig Gardner to have clipped Ashkan Dejagah. Dimitar Berbatov converted with customary ease before on 35 minutes Fulham's lead was extended when from a break Dejagah made rapid strides before feeding in a perfect cross for Sascha Riether to convert.
Sunderland reduced the arrears just a minute later when they were awarded a soft penalty of their own, after Philippe Senderos was adjudged to have pushed Danny Graham. Set-piece expert Gardner made no mistake from 12 yards.
The comeback was complete with 20 minutes left when Stephane Sessegnon drilled home after Senderos could only clear into the path of the Sunderland playmaker.
There were fears in the Swansea camp that their players might just suffer a hangover from their Capital One Cup heroics at home to Newcastle United, but such reservations were allayed with just five minutes left as substitute Luke Moore scored the game's only goal at the Liberty Stadium.
It was a scuffed finish that claimed Michael Laudrup's side a maximum haul but one which was good enough to move them ten points ahead of their visitors in the table.
The final game of the day proved to be a miserable one for Wigan as they were easily brushed aside by Liverpool to the tune of a 4-0 home defeat.
Suarez's well taken hat-trick and a rare Stewart Downing header did the damage at the DW Stadium.
Liverpool needed just two minutes to take the lead through Downing's effort after good work from Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian was the architect of Liverpool's second too, as his pass picked out Suarez for the Uruguayan's first of the day.
He then got his second via a deflected free-kick off the head of the unfortunate Shaun Maloney before rounding off the most comfortable of afternoons with his third, and Liverpool's fourth, in the 49th minute.