LONDON - Manchester United maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday, beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in a tense encounter at Old Trafford.
An own goal from Gareth McAuley put United ahead and Robin van Persie sealed the victory late on to keep United clear of champions Manchester City, who won a seven-goal thriller, 4-3, at Norwich City.
Tottenham won 2-1 at Sunderland to go third while at the other end, Reading moved three points clear of bottom side Queens Park Rangers by beating West Ham 1-0, and Aston Villa suffered another heavy defeat.
Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick as Arsenal beat Newcastle 7-3 to go fifth, scoring four goals in the last 20 minutes after the visitors had equalised three times.
United left Van Persie on the bench and were without the injured Wayne Rooney and had to withstand a bold fight from the visitors.
Ashley Young's cross was deflected in by McAuley after nine minutes and after West Brom had chances to equalise, Van Persie went on to seal the points with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
City led 2-0 at Norwich within four minutes thanks to two Edin Dzeko goals but after Anthony Pilkington pulled one back on 15 minutes, Samir Nasri was sent off for squaring up to Sebastian Bassong.
Sergio Aguero made it 3-1 for 10-man Man City but two Russell Martin goals, sandwiched by a Mark Bunn own goal, gave City a few nervous minutes at the end but they held on for victory.
Aaron Lennon scored the winner for Tottenham as they won 2-1 at Sunderland to move third above Chelsea, who play at Everton on Sunday.
John O'Shea gave Sunderland a deserved lead five minutes before half-time but Spurs needed only six minutes after the restart to turn the game in their favour.
A Carlos Cuellar own goal put the visitors level in the 48th, and Lennon then made it 2-1 three minutes later as Tottenham held their lead to move within three points of Manchester City in second.
The result was Tottenham's sixth win in eight league games and their second straight away victory over Christmas."