LONDON, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Manchester United speeded up in the Premier League's title race after a convincing 5-0 victory over Wigan on Boxing Day when upset draws were seen for Manchester city, Chelsea and other rivals.
Dimitar Berbatov, the second choice center forward for United this season, re-proved his value with a hat-trick performance while Park Ji-sung and Valencia netted one in each half to help the Reds draw level on points with the leaders Manchester City, both in 45 after 18 rounds.
Tottenham Hotspur (with two games in hand), Chelsea, Arsenal ( one game in hand) and Livepool followed the Manchester "big two" but found it hard to return to title race due to a least 10-point gap.
As a result of London tube drivers' strike on Boxing Day, some clubs chose to delay their fixtures for fans' conveniences. Arsenal thus will play Wolves at home on Tuesday while Hotspur will make a visit to Norwich.
Compared to the city rivals' easy win, Man. City seemed to lose their shooting boots in front of a bunch of chances after an overwhelming 62 percent possession, frustrated by a low-profile West Bromwich in an emotionless 0-0 draw. This was the first time that City failed to score in a league game this season. Despite losing a two-point advantage over Man. United, City still led the table on goal differences.
Liverpool overcame Charlie Adam's unlucky own goal in first- half stoppage time and moved level with the bottom placed Blackburn in 1-1 after Maxi Rodriguez equalized early in the second period. Captain Steven Gerrard came off the bench to replace Adam with 20 minutes left, which was the England midfielder's first action since October due to his ankle injury, still failed to bring a win for Anfield fans.
Chelsea's title hope was faded after the Blues suffered a disappointing 1-1 draw in a west London derby against Fulham. In Stamford Bridge, Andre Villas-Boas's side opened the scoring after Juan Mata's goal two minutes into the second half. However, the visitor only needed ten minutes to level the score when the American striker Clint Dempsey netted from close range.