Premier League round-up

Image: Javier Hernandez's goal set United on course for a comfortable win over Stoke

Manchester United's win at home to Stoke takes them level on points with neighbours City after their defeat at Everton.

Man United draw level with City at summit thanks to Gibson favour

On a day when what happened on the field appeared to be almost a sub-plot to what was happening off it, Manchester United were the big winners as Sir Alex Ferguson's side moved level on points with neighbours City at the Premier League summit. While United were cruising to a 2-0 defeat over Stoke City at Old Trafford, Manchester City continued their miserable recent run against Everton by falling to an eighth defeat in their last ten matches against David Moyes' side. Liverpool continued their good form with the easiest of 3-0 wins at Wolves, while Tottenham were similarly comfortable in seeing off Wigan 3-1 at White Hart Lane. Over at the Liberty Stadium few would deny Swansea deserved all three points at home to Chelsea but a last-gasp own goal from Neil Taylor ensured they had to settle for just one. A pair of penalties at Old Trafford saw Manchester United deservedly beat Stoke City to draw level with Manchester City on 54 points from 23 games. United's breakthrough goal, which arrived seven minutes before half-time, came courtesy of the spot after Park Ji-sung's surge into Stoke's box was curtailed by Jermaine Pennant's lunge from behind. In Wayne Rooney's continued absence through injury Javier Hernandez kept his nerve from 12 yards to calmly slot past Thomas Sorensen. After the interval Jonathan Walters demonstrated Pennant was not the only forward on show who hasn't quite mastered the art of tackling as his tug on Antonio Valencia gave United their second penalty of the evening. This time Dimitar Berbatov was handed responsibility to the same end as his effort from the spot just about beat Sorensen, who guessed the right way to no avail. Sir Alex may have sold Darron Gibson in the winter window but there seems to be no animosity between the pair as the Irishman's goal for Everton saw off Manchester City at Goodison Park. Remarkable scenes ensued five minutes before half-time when a male supporter someone negotiated his way past stewards and onto the field before handcuffing himself to Joe Hart's post. Players from both sides tried to placate him, as did police officers, before he was finally prised from Manchester City's goalmouth after a lengthy delay. An evenly contested opening half saw Everton striker Denis Stracqualuris have a header cleared off the line, while at the other end Samir Nasri smashed a sumptuous drive from range off the underside of Tim Howard's bar. When Everton's goal arrived there was an inevitability about the goalscorer as Gibson etched his name onto the scoresheet. The midfielder still had a lot to do when Landon Donovan laid the ball into his path from Leighton Baines' cross but his shot was true, as it flew past Joe Hart via a deflection off Gareth Barry. Amid fevered speculation over his future this week Andy Carroll finally had something to smile about, as his first half effort at Molineux set Liverpool on course for a cruise control victory against a poor Wolves side. Charlie Adam's wand like left peg arched a lovely ball in from the flank and having darted in front of his marker the £35million misfit produced a decent finish past Wayne Hennessey. Wolves' response was insipid and there were few inside Molineux surprised when Craig Bellamy continued his excellent recent form with a second. Given criminal licence to travel with the ball from the halfway line the Welshman sauntered to the edge of the box before embarrassing Hennessey with a daisy-cutter that was tepid at best. It would get no better for Wolves as Dirk Kuyt wrapped up an excellent night's work when he exchanged passes with the impressive Adam, before firing the final nail in the home side's coffin. Wigan headed to White Hart Lane as the proverbial lambs to the slaughter and so it transpired in North London as Tottenham cruised to a maximum haul. Chances were created and spurned prior to Gareth Bale's opener just shy of the half hour mark but from the moment the Welshman bagged his eighth of the campaign, there was only to be one winner. Luka Modric was the architect as he arrowed a pass from left to right that Bale took on his chest to make space before calmly poking past Ali Al Habsi from around six yards. Wigan's Achilles heel all season has been a powder puff defence and it flared again before half-time when Modric capitalised on Jordi Gomez's abject attempt to clear on the edge of his own box. When the ball ricocheted into his path a smart turn and instinctive shot gave Al Habsi not a prayer. There was precious little respite after the interval for a beleaguered Wigan as Bale underlined all his class once again as his arrow-like angled drive, after being fed by tormenter-in-chief Modric, gave Spurs a third. Credit to Wigan for refusing to capitulate amidst an onslaught as they reduced the deficit before the end as substitute James McArthur's deflected effort deflected over Brad Friedel. A nip and tuck first half at the Liberty Stadium saw both sides guilty of profligacy before Swansea forward Scott Sinclair haunted former club Chelsea five minutes before the break. Brendan Rodgers' stylish Swans had fired a warning shot earlier in the half when Danny Graham saw his rebound cleared off the line after Gylfi Sigurdsson had been denied by Petr Cech. It was a warning Chelsea failed to heed when after failing to fully clear a Swansea setpiece, Sinclair was allowed to hook a looping volley beyond Cech; albeit slightly fortuitously as the ball looked to have come off his shin. Chelsea toiled to find a leveller but Swansea were compact and defended well, with frustrations boiling over five minutes from time when Ashley Cole was sent-off for a second booking after a clumsy tackle on Nathan Dyer. Rodgers' side looked full value for the win when in injury-time Jose Bosingwa's cross was deflected past Michel Vorm off Taylor, for the most fortuitous of levellers.

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