PREMIER LEAGUE WRAP: Man Utd go seven clear, Bale nets hat-trick as Sunderland downs Man City

The Christmas schedule is well and truly under way with nine Premier League matches taking place on Boxing Day.

The Christmas schedule is well and truly under way with nine Premier League matches taking place on Boxing Day.

As is always the case this time of year, the fate of some clubs will be decided by the results they record over this hectic time with chances of titles and relegations starting to become clearer.

At the pointy end of the table, Manchester United are looking the goods for a 20th title after coming from behind on three occasions to beat Newcastle United 4-3 at Old Trafford.

James Perch opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Jonny Evans levelled for United but the Northern Irishman then allowed the Toon to take the lead again with a 29th-minute own-goal.

Patrice Evra equalised for a second time for the Red Devils ten minutes prior to Papiss Cisse’s 68th-minute go-ahead goal before Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez clinched a dramatic win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.

United now sit seven points clear at the top of the table after reigning champions Manchester City lost 1-0 at Sunderland as Adam Johnson haunted his former club with a 53rd-minute winner.

Third-place Chelsea did just enough to beat Norwich City 1-0 courtesy of Juan Mata’s 38th-minute goal whilst Everton went fifth thanks to a 2-1 victory at home over Wigan Athletic.

Tottenham remained fourth Gareth Bale conjured up a second-half hat-trick in their 4-0 triumph at Aston Villa who fell to 16th as Southampton held Fulham to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

Reading and Swansea City played out a 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium whilst QPR dropped to the bottom of the table as they were controversially beaten 2-1 by West Bromwich Albion.

And in Wednesday’s late game, Stoke City managed to come from behind to beat Liverpool 3-1 with Jon Walters netting a match-winning brace.

The Arsenal v West Ham United fixture was postponed because of London Underground industrial action and will be played at a later date.

Saturday December 29 and Sunday December 30 sees a full set of 10 fixtures before all clubs take the pitch again on January 1 and 2 before a 10-day Premier League break.

2012/13 Barclays Premier League scores

Manchester United: 4 (Jonny Evans 25’, Patrice Evra 58’, Robin van Persie 71’, Javier Hernandez 90’)
Newcastle United: 3 (James Perch 4’, Jonny Evans (og) 29’, Papiss Cisse 68’)
Old Trafford, Manchester – 75,596

Sunderland: 1 (Adam Johnson 53’)
Manchester City: 0
Stadium of Light, Sunderland – 42,190

Norwich City: 0
Chelsea: 1 (Juan Mata 38’)
Carrow Road, Norwich – 26,831

Everton: 2 (Leon Osman 52’, Phil Jagielka 77’)
Wigan Athletic: 1 (Arouna Kone 82’)
Goodison Park, Liverpool – 38,749

Fulham: 1 (Dimitar Berbatov 8’)
Southampton: 1 (Rickie Lambert (p) 85’)
Craven Cottage, London – 25,700

Queens Park Rangers: 1 (Djibril Cisse 68’)
West Bromwich Albion: 2 (Chris Brunt 29’, Rob Green (og) 50’)
Loftus Road, London – 17,782

Reading: 0
Swansea City: 0
Madejski Stadium, Reading – 24,050

Aston Villa: 0
Tottenham: 4 (Jermain Defoe 59’, Gareth Bale 61’/73’/84’)
Villa Park, Birmingham – 36,863

Stoke City: 3 (Jon Walters 5’/49’, Kenwyne Jones 12’)
Liverpool: 1 (Steven Gerrard (p) 2’)
Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent – 27,490

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